Facts About Foster and the New School Building Project

KEY ISSUES WITH THE CURRENT FOSTER SCHOOL:

  • The ~72,000 sq. ft. building was built over 70 years ago. Its electrical, plumbing and steam pipe heating systems are failing, costly to maintain and cause disruptions to learning. Maintenance costs for fiscal 2022 exceed $212,000 and are likely to increase.
  • Unlike the other elementary schools, Foster lacks space for all-school assemblies and celebrations. All-school events must be held outside and are weather dependent.
  • Several classrooms have no direct hallway access, windows, natural light or adequate ventilation. This was a significant issue during the pandemic and resulted in first and second grade students being relocated to an empty school in Weymouth for 3 months.
  • The limited size and irregular layout of the building do not allow for the type of collaborative, hands-on learning that is the foundation of a 21st century K-5 educational program and a critical component of Hingham’s Educational Plan.

THE NEW 126,385 SQ. FT. SCHOOL IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR:

  • Hingham’s K-5 Educational Program for up to 605 students.
  • District-wide goals to expand the preschool, Kids in Action(KIA) and Special Education(SpED) programs.
  • Visioning sessions conducted with educators, students and families.
  • District-wide need for administrative space, athletic fields, gymnasium with room for spectators and event and performance space.
  • The physical constraints and environmentally sensitive resources on the 39 acre site (only seven of which are buildable).

NEW SCHOOL BUILDING AND COMMUNITY AMENITIES INCLUDE:

  • Each grade level will be grouped as a “neighborhood” with common space for collaborative grade-level educational and project-based activities.
  • A separate entrance and five classrooms to expand Hingham’s Preschool Program.
  • SPED and KIA administrative offices.
  • SPED therapeutic learning center and language-based classroom.
  • Sustainable features will help meet LEED Silver certification, reduce annual energy costs and support Hingham’s goal of lowering carbon emissions. Key elements include a solar panel-ready roof, natural light due to southern exposure and light wells, highly insulated building envelope, ground source heat pump technology for heating & cooling of the entire building…with no fossil fuels.
  • A gymnasium with bleachers and adequate sidelines, a cafetorium to accommodate all-school events and performances, a multi-purpose room for the field science program and after school use, all of which are a benefit to the larger Hingham community.
  • Wilderness classroom, learning and rain gardens.
  • Wetlands restoration and native plantings.
  • Open playfield with volleyball and hard surface play area.
  • Softball field, universally accessible playgrounds (Pre-K & K-5) and tennis courts.
  • Bike paths and parking.
  • Ample parking and electric charging stations.

COSTS:

Estimated total cost for this project is $113M. The established reimbursement percentage expected from the MSBA is 40.54%, but that rate is effectively reduced due to items the MSBA deems ineligible for reimbursement. As a result, the anticipated grant from the MSBA is approximately $25 million.

RESOURCE AREAS:

Additional resources including the educational program, design documents, frequently asked questions and contact information, can be found on the School Building Committee web page (https://www.hingham-ma.gov/490/School-Building-Committee).