Designer chosen for new Amherst elementary school

  • Children board buses Tuesday at Wildwood School in Amherst. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, November 29, 2021

AMHERST — A Boston company will handle the designs for a new elementary school that would replace the 1970s-era Fort River and Wildwood elementary schools.

DiNisco Design was selected last week by the Massachusetts School Building Authority Designer Selection Board to work with town and school officials, as well as Anser Advisory, the owner’s project manager, on plans for a 575-student building that would house children from kindergarten through fifth grade.

While the state has approved the study for the Fort River site on South East Street, the Wildwood School site on Strong Street is also being considered for where the project may be built.

“This is a very important step for the town as we move forward with providing a new school for the town’s elementary students, teachers, and staff,” District 1 Councilor Cathy Schoen, who chairs the building committee, said in a statement.

The project is expected to accomplish several goals for elementary education in town, including providing daylight-filled spaces for children and teachers, using the outdoors for education and play, and creating a building using net-zero energy principles.

A schedule being contemplated includes having a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion vote brought to voters in November 2022, with the project to break ground Aug. 1, 2024, and a finished building opening in the fall of 2026.