Monday, June 20, 2016

Adding on to Our Historic WPA School Building

Many in Hudson--even those who never attended classes there--consider the Colonial Revival school building on Harry Howard Avenue one of the city's architectural treasures. Situated far back from the street, with a vast green lawn in front, the building stands as testimony to the respect and esteem in which public education was held generations ago.

The school was built when the country was still struggling to recover from the Great Depression. It was a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the largest and most ambitious of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal agencies, which employed millions of people who were otherwise jobless in such public works projects as the construction of public buildings and roads. When the school was completed in November 1937, it was known as Chancellor Livingston High School. Before it was built, elementary schoolchildren in Hudson could only attend school for half the day, because the high school had outgrown its building at 401 State Street and had taken over the elementary school across the street.

High school students changing classes in the 1930s
Whether or not they know or remember the building's history, people worry when there are plans afoot to add to the building or alter it in any way, and that's the case now. An addition to the south side of the building is being planned, along with an expansion of the parking lot in front of the building. Up until now, the rendering below--more of a massing drawing then anything else--was the only clue about what the addition might look like.

In the past few days, it has been announced that there are detailed preliminary designs for the capital project, which we assume include the addition to the historic 1937 building and not just the new athletic field at the high school. Public forums to share those designs have been scheduled for this Wednesday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m., and next Wednesday, June 29, at 6:30 p.m. Both meetings take place in the cafeteria of the former Chancellor Livingston High School, now the Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School, 102 Harry Howard Avenue. 

The Hudson City School District has also published the following list of "Ways to Get Involved" in the capital project. 

Because the above list is a screen capture, the links are not live, but here is the link to the district website, the link to the form for submitting questions or comments about the project, and the link for getting in touch if you have expertise or interest in any aspect of the project.


  1. You can subscribe to the District's Capital Project e-Newsletter (and have live links!) by emailing Megan Tice at

  2. The stormwater runoff issue is far from resolved, but whatever the solution it will require the use of City property.

    It's time for the Common Council to renew its attention to this issue, so that Underhill Pond isn't short-changed in the end.

    We always need to ask the level of planned filtration, so that the pond's water quality doesn't end up more impaired than it already is.