A Teacher’s Perspective: AHS’ Limitations

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Kent Werst has been a mathematics teacher at AHS since 2005. The current Arlington High School has many deficiencies. I am going to discuss three that have had a negative impact on learning in my classroom: poor climate control, inefficient building layout, and insufficient classroom space. The exterior wall of my classroom is mostly glass with four small windows, two …

The Future: Enrollment and Design Flexibility

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Arlington Public Schools’ student population is increasing – with about 200 new students added just this past year – and the high school is no exception. There have also been significant changes in education standards over the past decades, mandating different space requirements; for example, smaller group classes for some students with special needs. These changes, coupled with rising enrollment, …

Sustainability for the New AHS – An Update

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Sustainability is integral to the new high school design and over the past year, the AHS Building Committee has made substantial progress on identifying key sustainability features for inclusion. This supports the Town’s longstanding commitment to address environmental challenges and reduce energy use across all its facilities and operations. Aside from being the right thing to do, Arlington will receive …

miscellaneous architecture diagram

An Architect’s Reflections on the High School

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John Cole is an AHS Building Committee member and an architect. He is also a former member of the Permanent Town Building Committee (PTBC). During his tenure on the PTBC, Mr. Cole was involved in every building project the town has undertaken over the past 20 years. At the April 29 Town Meeting, I offered this personal reflection as to …

The Consequences of a ‘No’ Vote

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At the direction of the AHS Building Committee, the Finance and Communications Subcommittees evaluated the cost of creating a working high school should Arlington vote against the debt exclusion. Because of significant enrollment growth and deteriorating facility conditions, doing nothing will not be an option; the needs are pressing and must be addressed in the next few years. This report …

Update: High School Benchmarks – We are not alone

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Note: This blog provides an update to the previous benchmark analysis performed earlier in the project. Arlington, Belmont, Waltham, Saugus and Somerville are five high school building projects navigating through similar challenges — dense suburbs with comparably scaled projects being undertaken within the same timeframe. While there are similarities between the projects, none of these projects (or other projects in …

Educational Vision: An Interview with the AHS Principal

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What is exciting about the design for the new high school? Ask Principal Matthew Janger, and he will tell you that he is excited by the way the design meets all the Guiding Principles that were set forth in the AHS Educational Program in the early stages of the building project. Dr. Janger says that, “This is a building that …

Cost: The Big Picture

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This blog gives a big picture view of what contributes to the overall cost of the new high school. There are three primary drivers that must be considered: High Schools are costly The Boston area construction market is expensive Arlington High School has specific factors that increase its cost above a typical high school building project High schools are expensive …

Cost cutting measures to-date

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Throughout the project, the Building Committee has been mindful of the financial impact of the project on today’s taxpayers, while planning a school that will serve the town for the next century. The Committee has explored multiple ways to reduce the cost of the project, all resulting in a lower project cost to taxpayers. This blog summarizes these cost-cutting efforts. …

Request for Services estimates explained

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This blog answers questions that have come up recently regarding very preliminary project estimates for $150M that were included in the Request for Service (RFS) documents when the Building Committee was soliciting proposals for an Owner’s Project Manager and a Designer/Architect in 2016. . Budget development is an ongoing process through the Feasibility Study and Schematic Design phases of the …