For teachers and students at Hildreth Elementary School, the countdown to moving day has started. Only about six weeks remain until the mid-May opening of the new school building, although no official ribbon-cutting has yet been scheduled.
At its March 25 meeting, the School Building Committee heard from Tom Murphy, the project director, that construction is on schedule and well within budget. At this point, he said, total projected costs are about $625,000 under budget. But he warned that not all the savings—if they materialize—would go to Harvard. Because the Massachusetts School Building Authority is footing part of the bill for the new school, it would also share in the savings by reducing its reimbursements to the town. The only remaining budgetary risks, Murphy said, are unforeseen conditions or hazardous materials that could turn up while the old building is being demolished.
Committee member Sharlene Cronin asked whether any of the “value engineering” cuts that the committee made to keep the project within budget could be restored. Murphy replied the most prudent policy now is to use any savings to meet needs that arise when the building is in use. He noted that teachers often discover, after they begin using new classrooms, that some furnishings or equipment have been forgotten.
The building committee did endorse one final feature for the school’s exterior. Pierced-metal sun screens to go around the roofed porches were part of the original design, but they had been on hold until it seemed clear the budget was in good shape. The committee approved the $122,500 cost of the screens.
Graphic designer Lauren Haggerty, from the architectural firm Arrowstreet, presented the designs for the screens, which feature rolling fields and apple trees. She also showed drawings of how the screens will fit between the columns that support the porch roofs along parts of the building.
Sunscreens, designed by Lauren Haggerty of Arrowstreet, will be placed between the columns that support the porch roof. (Courtesy photo))