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SBRC Update: October 11, 2023

The ongoing project to address Dedham’s need for a new Elementary school building continues to move ahead, with votes taken at the School Building Rehabilitation Committee meeting held on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 that confirmed the final proposed design, expanded the SBRC membership by six new ex-officio members and determined the future of the 1902 Oakdale school building.  

 

Future of 1902 Oakdale Elementary Building

The SBRC voted unanimously to remove the current 1902 Oakdale School to make room for the proposed combined Greenlodge-Oakdale School on the Oakdale campus site.   The demolition of both the 1953 Oakdale annex and the original 1902 building creates 6.2 acres of buildable space, along with large play areas for students, open space for fields, ample parking, and a substantial drop off/pick up lane designed to draw traffic off of Cedar Street.   While additional options were explored, the committee emphasized the benefits of maximizing flexibility and delivering the best possible building option for the town over options to preserve the older building structure. 

 

The SBRC discussed measures that would enable continued use of the Oakdale School through the 2025-2026 school year prior to demolition, as construction progressed in the field behind the existing school.  Current timelines, if the project is approved to move forward, would have the new Elementary school scheduled to open in September 2026. 

 

Project Design Vote 

The SBRC also formally voted in favor of design option D.2 for the new Greenlodge-Oakdale school building. This design concept, which adjusted the chosen Core Cluster option (option D), places the gymnasium on the East side of the new structure, nearest to Cedar Street. The design will also incorporate a “gymnatorium” concept which creates a dual use of the school gymnasium as an athletic activity space as well as a space for school wide assemblies and community events.  

 

6 New SBRC Ex-Officio Members Named

Five Dedham residents and a Greenlodge School teacher were nominated and unanimously approved as ex officio members of the SBRC. These non-voting advisory members will support the SBRC’s effort to make recommendations to the town on the proposed construction of a combined Greenlodge-Oakdale elementary school. Applications were considered at a public meeting the prior week and had been reviewed by each SBRC member before the vote. The following are the new SBRC members: 

  • Kerri Bryant - A second-grade teacher at the Greenlodge school 

  • Kaitlyn DeStefano - A Greenlodge resident, parent of three DPS students and a member of the Greenlodge PTO. 

  • Anthony Rodriguez - An Architectural Designer who resides in the Greenlodge neighborhood. 

  • Sarah Rosenthal - An Architect with Shepley Bulfinch with substantial experience in MSBA and non-MSBA school building, renovation and addition work. Rosenthal lives on Border Street and is the Vice-Chair of the Dedham Zoning Board of Appeals.

  • Katherine Duceman - A former White House public engagement staffer and current communications professional with Bain & Co. She is a Precinct 2 Town Meeting Member who lives across from the Riverdale School.

  • Steve Popper - The Director of Design and Construction for the Town of Needham. He is a Precinct 1 Town Meeting Member and member of the Dedham Building Planning and Construction Committee.

 

School Committee Facilities Subcommittee Update

The new Facilities Subcommittee created by the Dedham School Committee, has been tasked with overseeing facilities under school care, custody, and control, which will include exploring recommendations for potential future use of the Greenlodge Elementary school building, should the new elementary building be built.  The first meeting of the Facilities Subcommittee will take place on Thursday, October 12, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. via Zoom. 

 

The Dedham Public Schools and School Committee have also re-engaged with its redistricting consultant, Cropper GIS, to help develop a preliminary redistricting plan, to understand the impacts of shifting those households currently districted to the Greenlodge School to the new combined Greenlodge-Oakdale School. 

 

Next Meetings:

  • 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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