On October 6, the board was considering two variations of a design for the newly configured addition: one had a flat roof on the foremost part of the addition; the other had a pitched roof and a profile that echoed the profile of the historic building and the 1997 addition.
The version with the flat roof was within the budget for the addition; the version with the historic profile was $250,000 more than the budget allowed. Torn between what was affordable and what would be compatible, Superintendent Maria Suttmeier worked with the architects to find a middle ground. What finally evolved was presented by Suttmeier at last night's school board meeting.
The new design, which according to the architects is in the "safe zone" as far as the budget is concerned, adds a pitched roof to the front of the addition, with walls that echo the historic profile on either side instead of in the front. The roof is pitched only at the front of the building; the roof behind it is flat.
This new design includes a crest along the ridge of the roof that repeats the crest on the historic building. While a tremendous improvement over both the original one-story design and the affordable design with the flat roof, the new design doesn't achieve the same height and scale as the unaffordable version and tends more toward imitation than compatibility, but it is what can be built within the budget.
The addition to Montgomery C. Smith is Phase 2 of HCSD's current capital project. Phase 1 is the new athletic field at Hudson High School, which has received far more attention from the community than the addition to a historic school building. When the school board was struggling to decide between natural turf and artificial turf for the playing field, parents and other community members came out in force to weigh in on the discussion. When it came to the track, people let it be known that what was planned was inadequate for track meets. What they wanted, after years of having an antiquated track, were track facilities that would allow Hudson to be the site of Patroon Conference meets.
The improvements to the athletic field requested by the community put Phase 1 $225,000 over budget--almost the same amount as the most desirable design would put Phase 2 over budget. Last night, Suttmeier reported success in securing the lion's share of that $225,000. After being turned down by Nike and the Dyson Foundation, she took her case to the Galvan Foundation. Accompanied by high school athletes Mike Alert, who distinguished himself last season in basketball and is doing so this season in football, and Noah Taylor, who excels in track, Suttmeier met with Eric Galloway. The students, whom Suttmeier praised for their demeanor and sincerity, made their case persuasively, speaking of what sports means to them. Galloway agreed to contribute $200,000 for Phase 1.
Phase 2 of the capital project has not sparked the same level of public interest as Phase 1. Although there are grumblings about the new addition and fears that it will deface the hallowed eighty-year-old school building, during the lengthy design development process, few if any members of the public have shown up at school board meetings to engage with the project and express an opinion. The next school board meeting may be the last chance. A three-dimensional model of the proposed addition, in its latest configuration and design, will be presented at that meeting, which takes place on Monday, November 7, at 7 p.m., in the library of Montgomery C. Smith School.
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