Alternate Site Evaluation & Decision

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As part of our agreement with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the Town of Arlington must identify and evaluate alternate sites in town that could accommodate a new high school. In this post, we share the decision process that came to the conclusion that the future High School will remain on its current site.  

A viable site would ideally need to be at least 25 acres and satisfy a number of other requirements. Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine identified four possible locations in Arlington:

  1. Summer St. fields and rink
  2. Mirak property
  3. Poet’s Corner
  4. Mugar property

The table above shows the Building Committee’s analysis of each site.

None of the alternate sites meet the area requirements and none are owned by the town. Each site also has other significant shortcomings:

  • The Summer St. fields and rink are zoned for Open Space and are protected land under Article 97. There would also be traffic challenges.
  • The Mirak property would cause a loss of tax revenue to the town. There are also issues with potential site contamination and topography.
  • The Poet’s Corner property is not centrally located, is zoned for Open Space, and is used for field space.
  • The Mugar property contains wetlands, is zoned for Open Space, and is not centrally located.

The current high school site has known constraints. There is a 30% grade from the front to the rear of the property and the Mill Brook runs under the property. The athletics fields in back are over a contaminated site that’s been capped.

These findings were presented at the March 6, 2018 Building Committee meeting. The Committee agreed that the shortcomings of the alternate sites justified the current high school location as the best and most appropriate choice for the future high school.

The Building Committee voted to submit the alternate site analysis to the MSBA as part of the Preliminary Design Program submission in April 2018.

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