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SBRC Update: September 27, 2023

The ongoing project to address Dedham’s need for a new elementary school building continues to move ahead, with the latest School Building Rehabilitation Committee meeting held on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.  Key topics addressed during this public meeting included an update on the MSBA process, a design update to accommodate requests to look at moving the current planned placement of the gymnasium, a discussion around the plans for the current 1902 Oakdale building and an update on the planned traffic study.


Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Process Update

The preferred schematic report for the proposed Greenlodge-Oakdale Elementary project was submitted to the MSBA on August 31, 2023. The next step in the process involved an MSBA Facilities Assessment Committee meeting, which was held on September 20th.  At this meeting, the proposed project was reviewed and feedback from the committee was provided.  Based on the current feedback, the plans were favorably received, and according to project architect, JLA, the committee was pleased with the selection of the Oakdale property and the planned 550 student enrollment.


Final schematic designs for the project are due to the MSBA in mid-December.  Between now and then, the project will focus on revisions and details including design adjustments and estimated costs.

Project Design Updates

Incorporating feedback from the SBRC, educators, and the community — Jonathan Levi Architects unveiled a new design option “D.2”  which adjusts the chosen Core Cluster option (option D), moving the gym to the east side of the building and combining the gym with the auditorium to create a “gymatorium” capable of holding a larger attendance for school and community functions.  The design will continue to keep separate cohort spaces for grades 1-2 & 3-5 in order to build smaller communities within the school.


Plans For 1902 Oakdale School Building

As the plans for a new school building move forward, the committee has also begun addressing plans for the current 1902 Oakdale School building.   Discussions weighing the considerations and options centered around the possible demolition of the 1902 building.  Community sentimentality for the historic space was discussed along with the opportunity to maximize open space on the property should the building be demolished.  Discussion also included the ability to reflect components of the historic building into the design of the new school building, ramifications of keeping and repurposing the building on open space for the new school, and the financial benefits of including the demolition as part of the project.   


Should the decision be made to demolish the current building as part of the new school construction, the costs of demolition, and the construction and design of field space would contribute to the reimbursable cost of the project if included as part of the schematic site design proposal to the MSBA.  A final decision and vote was not taken at this meeting, with the committee looking to discuss in more detail.  


Studying Traffic and Transportation

The formal traffic and transportation studies will be conducted over the next few weeks,  culminating in a traffic impact analysis.  Eight intersections/areas will be studied to get a baseline of traffic flow during school dropoff and pickup hours: Whiting/Walnut; Whiting/River; Oakdale Square; Sprague/Cedar; Cedar/Turner; Endicott Rotary; (Cedar/East St.); Cedar/Madison; Sprague/Greenlodge.


Ex-Officio Committee Member Opening

The Dedham School Building Rehabilitation Committee is accepting applications for ex officio (non-voting) members to join us as the Greenlodge-Oakdale Project continues through the critical design phase and beyond. They are looking for individuals with particular experience in school construction or a parent of a child enrolled in the Dedham Public Schools. Additional information can be found on the town website.  Ex-Officio applications will close on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.  

Next Meetings:

  • Tuesday, October 10, 2023 - SBRC Meeting - 6:30pm at Dedham Town Hall

  • Monday, October 23, 2023 - SBRC Meeting - 6:30pm at Dedham Town Hall

  • Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - SBRC Meeting - 6:30pm at Dedham Town Hall

  • Monday, November 20, 2023 - SBRC Meeting - 6:30pm at Dedham Town Hall


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