Committee Evaluates Education Program Cuts with WHS Project Costs

“Any of these educational program cuts will have an impact on what is possible in our future High School," said William McAlduff, Superintendent of Schools.

This is the second in a series of updates from the Education Facilities Planning and Building Committee on the High School Feasibility Study. Here is the first update.

The Education Facilities Planning and Building Committee (EFPBC) evaluated high school alternatives according to education program and project cost tradeoffs on Wednesday, Oct. 17. 

In the first of a series of sessions intended to help the EFPBC narrow down preferred alternatives being considered, Project Architects SMMA presented four construction alternatives for enclosing three different programs (A, B, and C) each, utilizing site diagrams, education program space considerations and project costs.  

The “A” series represented the full education program, the “B” series represented an approximately 13,500 sq. ft. reduction in space design, and the “C” series represented a total of 33,500 sq. ft. reduction.  

Program “B”: Proposed reductions in educational program space

Program “C”: Proposed reductions in educational program space

  • Art lab (1,100 ft2)
  • Overhead track in the gymnasium (6,000 ft2)
  • Multi-purpose studio (2,000 ft2)
  • “Black Box” performance space (1,600 ft2)
  • WinCam (expanded dedicated footprint)
  • Professional development spaces (400 ft2).


  • All Program “B” reductions, and
  • Classroom and Teacher Planning spaces (950 ft2)
  • Small Group Seminar room (500 ft2)
  • Greenhouse (400 ft2)
  • Lecture Hall (2,000 ft2)
  • Connect & Commit, Health Instructor, School Newspaper Office Spaces (650 ft2)
  • Reduction of gymnasium by 6,000 ft2
  • Food & Commons concept 

 “Any of these educational program cuts will have an impact on what is possible in our future High School, but we want to make sure we have prioritized our needs when considering project costs,” said William McAlduff, Superintendent of Schools.  

McAlduff will be providing the EFPBC and community with a narrative on the effects of each program reduction on the school’s curriculum.  (A full description of the educational program needs analysis can be found on the project website: www.winchesterhsproject.com)

Seventeen potential program reductions were represented through area calculations and perspective drawings of each program element, space or room. Finally, the effects of schedule and renovation scope changes on project cost were presented for two alternatives, 1 and 7.

In all, 18 alternatives were considered ranging in program size between 238,000 to 313,000 sq. ft. and cost from $114M to $163M.

Wincam & the High School:

Currently there is approximately 1200 sq. ft. of space allocated to WinCam activities at the High School.  This includes a studio which the High School uses for its TV production class(es). 

The proposed education program identifies the need for an additional 800 ft2 shared space for a "TV Studio and Editing Room."  While this shared ( HS/Wincam) space stays in both Programs “B” and “C”, additional square footage would need to be added if WinCam is interested in expanding their dedicated footprint.  

Skillings Field Site and Schedule:

Of the various design alternatives under consideration, new construction of a high school on the Skillings field site (Alternative 7) remains an attractive scheduling and cost option for the community, but one largely dependent on the status of wetlands mitigation. 

“If the Skillings site were available today, we could reduce the construction schedule by up to two years and eliminate the need for swing space,” stated Bob Deering. “But it is unclear at this time exactly when the 100 year flood plain will be redrawn for that location.”

There are six project components to the Aberjona Flood Mitigation Program that impact whether the site known as Skillings field could serve as a viable location for a new high school building.  In addition, the successful completion of all six elements of the program could impact both the schedule and project costs of a new building on the fields. 

The EFPBC will draft a letter for the Board of Selectmen, communicating that building a new high school on the Skillings Field site remains a serious priority should floodplain mitigation be successfully completed in time for the start of new construction in 2015.

For more information, please visit the project website: www.winchesterhsproject.com.  

ABL October 23, 2012 at 08:16 PM
No one is receiving 'bids' at this time. The $163M is an estimate of what a school of this type and size would cost. Months of programming and years of design will be necessary before actual bids can be solicited. Also, national construction cost averages are of very limited usefulness. Look at Newton North for an example of a recently constructed high school in this area. It cost nearly $200M and costs have gone up since that time.


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