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Question of the Day: What Would You Like to See Done to Wright-Locke Farm

Let us know your thoughts to the question below.

The town has made a for

Originally, the town had agreed to sell the property to Abbott Real Estate back in 2007, but last fall Abbott informed the town that they would be

A section of the farm will most likely be sold to a developer so that they can create housing units.

So, we'd like to know: What type of development would you like to see at Wright-Locke Farm?

Are you interested in creating a 55+ community? What would you rather see, town houses or condos? How many units would you like to see on the property? Should there be affordable housing available?

Let us know your thoughts on the Wright-Locke Farm development below.

Cathy F June 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM
I think this site should be considered for a new Winchcester High School. As we go about a feasibility study to renovate or rebuild the current high school, it seems foolish to pour millions of dollars into a school that sits on a flood plain. How about preserving part of the Wright Locke Farm and using part for a high school?
Ann Sera June 29, 2011 at 11:55 PM
I completely agree with Cathy F. Unless we somehow build an entire high school up on very strong stilts that are able to withstand significant hydraulic forces, we need to find a new location for that high school.
Elzabeth Cregger June 30, 2011 at 06:29 PM
While moving WHS could be an option, but would effectively take the entire property, Also with the property's sunk cost of acquistion, the total cost to the community would be at about the $85 MM range.The historic character of the property would be lost and the surrounding streets would need to be reconstructed to accommodate the increased traffic flow to the West Side daily and parking for virtually the entire school population. Also, the connection between the Town center and the business community would be severed. These would all have to be considered.
DonnaD June 30, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Unfortunately, everything we are hearing as high school parents indicated that there is sufficient square footage within the building; it is just configured badly. Given everything else that is going on in town and the various un-met needs, it is hard to justify a new building. (The fact that the School Department isn't even trying to justify new construction says something.) I am so disappointed that the sale to Abbott fell through. Everyone kept talking as though an over-55 community would reduce the burden on the schools, but those over-55 people will move from somewhere, and if they move from elsewhere in Winchester chances are that families with school-age children will take their place. Hope that was considered when planning VO!
BAV June 30, 2011 at 11:31 PM
"Unfortunately, everything we are hearing as high school parents indicated that there is sufficient square footage within the building; it is just configured badly. " This is good news, not unfortunate news, right? The building is not that old. If a little bit of rehab is all it takes, we can save the town lots of money. That said, it is a really good idea to wait until the High School study is complete, in case there is need for a new building. It would allow one more option.
Ann Sera July 04, 2011 at 02:10 AM
Of course, if a residential community was built, that would also remove the historic character of the property and require massive blasting, as the Abbot development did. I'm assuming that the last sentence means that planners think that a high school shoudl be located in the center of Town. I actually think that the emphasis is to keep businesses in Town Center, not schools. The primary effort in our Town Center should be on growing business, decreasing pervious space, and returning areas along the river to a more natural, marsh-like, functional state. Several recent projects by the Town are directly contradictory to these efforts.
Pats July 09, 2011 at 05:37 PM
The Massachusetts School Building Authority authorized up to 21 classrooms for VO. They are paying for 40% of the cost and they get to call the shots if you want to use their money. The Town has smartly figured out how to build 3 additional classrooms at virtually no cost. That will be a school of about 500 kids capacity. Quality Educational practice generally frowns on elementary schools larger. Good planning by the Schools.
Pats July 09, 2011 at 05:43 PM
There is no doubt that Winchester High School needs some help. Moving it, leaving it where it is, whatever happens it needs some help. About 5 years ago a Tufts Science Professor said he would ban the use of the labs if they were in his control they are so bad. That was 5 years ago. The building lacks the existing classroom space to house the incoming student body. In five years the building will grow by 350-400 kids. And many classrooms don't even have windows to the outside. The roof leaks, mold is visible in a number of places. Plus the building is woefully energy inefficient. And unbelievably ugly; but I guess we can live with that. LOL. Winchester needs to do something. All new would be nice to see but maybe Winchester can do something for half the price through renovation which would be better. BUt please do something.

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