Jonathan Salvon: Describes Fort River school process

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Describes Fort River school building process

On May 2, the Fort River School Building Committee released a request for qualifications for the Fort River Elementary School feasibility study.

The Building Committee will receive applications from architectural design teams interested in working with the committee to provide the Amherst community with options for a pre-kindergarten through Grade 6 school on the Fort River site and the estimated costs of those preliminary design options.

The Building Committee’s work will conclude with the delivery of these options to the Amherst School Committee. The awarded design team will analyze the Fort River site and school building and propose options for at least three feasible designs.

The committee will ask the design team to give the community options that span a range of building costs, operating and maintenance costs, and environmental impacts of both initial construction and continuing operations of the building. The committee and design team will also consider how potential design solutions will affect the operations of the school during construction.

Renovation, addition, partial or complete demolition and new construction will all be explored. The successful design team will work with the Building Committee in a collaborative, iterative design process over an anticipated six months. During this process, the Amherst community will be invited to participate in public forums at three milestones to learn about the design processes and offer feedback.

An indoor air quality assessment of the existing building was recently conducted by ATC Group Services from West Springfield. Results are expected to be available in June.

Community engagement with the Building Committee’s work will include public access to the committee’s website (www.amherstma.gov/frsbc) with meeting agendas, minutes and documents; a binder in the circulation section of the Jones Library; an email address to receive public comment (fortriversbc@amherstma.gov); an email list serve; public forums; and scheduled press releases.

We welcome feedback on all of these strategies.

Jonathan Salvon