Monday, September 15, 2014

Nelson Place Public Hearing (Feasibility)

Meeting tonight for a public hearing on schematic design. The presentation is up online here.
Posting as we go! You can click to make images bigger.

Julie Lynch: Feasibility Study for Nelson Place; in the third stage for that; Preferred Schematic Report completed.
now going through introductions
Overview of concerns from public, then schedule (if project approved), then progress made over summer, then Q&A

Reminder that School Building Committee update October 27; Meeting and vote December 8

Part of presentation to MSBA will be budget as well as project, "That's the number we have to stay with" once the project is approved

two level plan for 600 students, 100 staff + 20 staff visitors
"since we have last met, we have met in a lot of detail with the school and the school administrators...think we really have a plan that meets the program and a lot of what we have talked about in the past"
single entrance with central lobby with cafeteria and gym and librarynext to it; both accessible after hours, with rest of building able to be locked off
lower floor 5th and 6th grade looking over western side
upper floor 1st and 2nd grade with upper level
"school did feel it meets their program...feel that's important to know"
review site plan, next to neighborhood, answer questions you had the last time
went to ConCom a month and a half; wetland area was deliniated and bounded as flagged
test pits and test borings in August
geologic similar to maps from the 50's; ledge depths are much deeper than we had thought THUS LESS BLASTING

bus drop-off reoriented closer to street
main access now aligned with Nelson Drive (?); two exits
secondary access in back; minimizing width with wider cleared space
minizing land taking at Hapgood; land taking and land giving based on "sheer geometry of site" at upper entrance

Looking at cladding that allows exterior of building to go up very quickly, take down gymnasium; move kids into new building; demolish old building and landscaping
parking during construction: "city is entertaining 'construction manager at risk'...parking off site...once parking lot down, front area for play, parking behind the building, teachers and staff also parking off-site"
scheduling things to minimize noise; "obviously, you're all in the backyard, and that is noted"
Q: make-up air unit? (fresh air exchange) location of boiler. Try to minimize heat leaving the building
energy recovery units? yes, with all the major units. Some of work-up showing numbers similar to buildings considered net zero
Q: access road? Paving material? Haven't decided yet. Probably going ot be asphalt, haven't decided yet. Lighting? Plowing? Concerns about safety, possibly lighting; plowing will have to happen. Met with security consultant. Request for zero to no lighting on the access road, 100% permeable surface. "very difficult to operate in this climate" suggestion for grasscrete (which is, to editorialize for a moment, totally possible). Looking like there will be bollards to block off the road most of the time (that can be run over by a fire truck)
Q: will this building be a parking lot? Yes, part of it. People didn't want to see a sea of parking.
Suggestion that access road has low lighting (like a movie theater); would light pathway and be less intrusive
Q: could parking be moved around to front? Responding to neighborhood concerns in not having a sea of cars. Response that neighbors would rather see that than more trees come down.
This enables larger play space, "not just for schools but for the community"
Ledge? Can't speak to exactly where, will be some blasting on the site, geotechnic engineer very experienced. Pre-blast survey includes current building, including screwjacks and etc
Q: when blasting is done, students here? Try to do off-hours...."wouldn't speculate one way or another...will depend on where blasting is being done"
Q: structural safety of building during blasting? Still being monitored, assured that building in current condition is safer than it was built originally; other monitors brought in as well
Q: Radon? Worcester has high radon...underslab ventilation in place with vents on the roof. City View, Worcester Tech, North...have that...already in budget
Q: land on Hapgood? City asked to mitigate taking. Also space between driveway and backyards? moved up, "I'm going to guess, 40 feet" also "we don't have to take all that property and keep it...trying to mitigate as much as we can"
a bit of a back-and-forth here about specifics on visiblity, plantings...
Request that the back parking lot be reconsidered "That's trees and animals that are never going to come back" Looked again at parking regulations; less than half of what would normally be provided for a school building; more in keeping with green building "don't want to pave any more than we have to, either"
Q: an incentive to meet schedule? "Time is money" Also Owners Project Manager keeping track and on schedule
Q: cut and fill analysis? Yes, really rough "50,000 yards cut and fill...roughly equal" Q: how many truck trips? Hoping to keep much of material on site. Hope to reuse a lot of it
Q: are you required to have that access road? My understanding is not. Request that you leave that out. Is result of security consultant "in wake of Sandy Hook" for another access besides front access and beyond Assumption access (oh, for Pete's sake)
grade incline on back access road? Steep, is short version
Argument that the back road is unnecessary, also opens up to more use of woods, possibly by Assumption
Q: drainage? water flowing through wetlands from one to another. "No the two wetlands are absolutely not connected in any way or form...isolated land subject to flooding" No increase in post-flows than previous conditions. Underground detention system installed. Will look to file with ConCom next spring with detailed numbers. 
Concern about current flooding already; blacktop increase leading to increase in waterflow (this at upper end of property running down onto and across Nelson Place Road now; bet it was a stream before we had houses here)
back and forth here about who sees the parking and who doesn't
Response that some schools bigger schools have less parking (to which the response is, 'and it's a big problem')
walking path along top of wall along Nelson Place (with fence along top if needed)
Q: could Hapgood get sidewalks? Not part of scope of work, but yes, good idea. DPW points out abutters would pay for sidewalk. 
Q: Construction access? Probably along current gym. 
Q: Roof? Partly flat (with solar panels) and sloped in parts for "charm" "significant portion of flat roof"
Long warranties on roofs installed on city buildings
And that's it

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