William L. Foster Elementary School was originally built in 1951 and totals approximately 73,636 square feet today.
Though the building has been well-maintained over the years, the outdated mechanical systems make it increasingly challenging to operate and maintain and the many interior classrooms and small communal spaces have a significant negative impact on the ability to deliver an educational program designed to meet the needs of students in the 21st century.
The new 126, 385 sq. ft. school is designed for Hingham’s Pre-K-5 program up to 605 students. The school will have space for the expanded Integrated PreK, Kids in Action, and Special Education programs.
During the 2017 Town Meeting, residents voted to appropriate $750,000, to conduct a feasibility study that would enable work to identify a permanent solution to the infrastructure and educational deficiencies that Foster has endured for several years. At that time, a new School Building Committee was created. At Town Meeting in 2020, an additional $350,000 was appropriated to augment the prior feasibility appropriation in keeping with feasibility costs for comparable school building projects.
After an almost unanimous vote at the November 1st, 2022 Special Town Meeting, the project was placed on the ballot for the November 8th election. At the ballot box, 72% of residents voted in favor of the project far surpassing the needed threshold of 51%.
Updates – School Building Project
November 30, 2022
The School Building Committee awarded the bid to K. R. Rezendes Inc (KRR) last week for the first phase of work at the Foster School for the construction of the new elementary school building.
The contractor began immediately developing the Storm Water Protection Plan which will then trigger the review by the Conservation Commission and Planning Board. This review is expected to take two weeks. Once complete, the site work will begin for Phase 1. We look forward to providing updates on the project throughout the year.
December 23, 2022
There will be a temporary parking lot established at the front of the building to make room for the access road being developed.
January 2, 2023
The temporary parking lot is complete.
The temporary playground is close to completion.
The new access road is complete.
The Foster School Building Project is well underway in the first phase of work. Here are some highlights of the work completed thus far:
The temporary playground at the Foster was opened in February, and the school staff is using it for recess, physical education, and after-school programs.
The building excavation and backfilling is completed. The next step is to continue the work on the retaining walls along the bottom of Otis Hill.
The School Building Committee, the school, and district leaders continue to work with the architect on the interior design, including floor patterns and color schemes for the interior spaces. The team also reviewed and discussed various designs and equipment options for the playgrounds of the new school building.
The School Building Committee has begun the process of bidding on the second phase of the project and expects to award the bid later this spring.
New Building Contract for Phase 2 awarded to Bacon Construction.
The month of July has seen the Hingham Elementary School project kick into high gear! The project has solicited and awarded the Phase 2 (New School) and Phase 3 (Foster Demo & Final Site Work) filed sub-contracts and General Contract to Bacon Construction (baconconstruction.com) as the qualified lowest bidder on May 22, 2023. Bacon has mobilized to the site and began foundation excavation work the week of July 17, 2023. Bacon conducted its first concrete placement on Monday July 24, 2023 and will be working to have concrete placements every 2 – 3 days until the foundations are completed at the end of August/early September. Excavations, concrete formwork, rebar installation and concrete placements are reviewed and inspected by the project team and the Hingham Building Department on a daily basis. Steel erection is planned to begin toward the end of August.
The Phase 1 Site Work continues concurrently to the Phase 2 work, and the Phase 1 General Contractor, K R Rezendes is working to complete the underground utilities, entrance loop road pavement and the retaining wall along Otis Hill on the north side of the site over the next 3 – 4 weeks. K R Rezendes was also selected by Bacon to continue as the site contractor under Phases 2 and 3.
The start of school, the project team will reconfigure the student drop off, bus loop and the front parking areas along Downer Ave to accommodate students and parents to provide functional and safe school operations as the project moves into Phase 2. There will be new signage and vehicle flow patterns so be sure to watch for upcoming information from the Hingham Public School Department and as you access the Hingham Foster School.
It is also important to note that the Town of Hingham will be starting its Downer Ave Water Main Project on July 27, 2023 which will require residents to safely navigate Downer Ave during this summer project. The Hingham Elementary School Project will be working to coordinate it’s utility and road work with the Water Main Project along the project site on Downer Ave as well.
The Hingham Elementary School Ceremonial Groundbreaking will occur on Friday August 25, 2023 at 11 am. The ceremony will be attended by Town officials, Hingham Public Schools representatives, the Massachusetts School Building Authority and Project construction team members.
Phase 1 Work – Site Preparation:
The Phase 1 work is 90% complete
All site preparation, tree clearing, and early utility work is complete
Both retaining walls are 95% complete along Otis Hill
Tree plantings and grass seeding above the new retaining walls is the only remaining scope. All plantings will be installed during the Fall 2023 planting season (early September to mid October)
The phase 1 site contractor is staying on as the Phase 2 site contractor, simplifying handoff between phases
Phase 2 Work – New Building and Site Improvements:
Area B (the western section of the school) was completed in early August
Area A (the eastern section of the school) was completed this week, on 9.19.23.
Area B steel arrived in mid August. Steel is roughly 75% complete in B area.
Area A steel is scheduled to arrive next week, the week of 9.25.
Steel erection is scheduled to be complete by the first week in November.
The first slab on deck placement is scheduled for mid-October in B area.
Underground plumbing work is started in Area B last week.
Underground electrical is expected to start in Are B by the end of the month.
Sitework / Geothermal Wellfield:
The geothermal wellfield drilling began in early September. 14 of 80 wells have been installed so far.
Phase 1 Work – Site Enabling and Retaining Walls
The phase 1 work is ~95% complete
Both retaining walls are 95% complete along Otis Hill
Tree Plantings are ~75% complete. Targeting completion by the end of the month.
Grass seeding above the retaining walls is scheduled for the week of October 23rd
Phase 2 Work – New Building and Site Improvements
Area A is complete.
Area B is complete.
All foundations have been completed and backfilled.
Area A structural steel is ongoing. All erection should be complete in early November
Area A steel decking is scheduled to begin in early November
Area B structural steel is complete.
Area B steel decking is nearly complete. Level 2 and 3 are complete. The roof decking will be complete by October 26th
The final steel delivery is scheduled for October 27th.
Area B underground plumbing is nearly complete
Area B underground electrical work began
Area B levels 2 and levels 3 prepped for concrete pours.
The first slab on deck pour is scheduled for October 24th on B level 2 and B level 3.
Sitework / Geothermal:
The geothermal wellfield is ongoing. Well drilling is ~50% complete. 50 of 80 wells have been drilled.
The geothermal contractor aims to complete all well drilling by the first week of November.