Nauset High School Building Board Narrows Options For Campus

By: Ed Maroney

Topics: Nauset High School

During a January 2018 tour of Nauset Regional High School with the building committee, Superintendent. Tom Conrad paused to consider a question from member Ron Collins, building and facilities manager for the town of Orleans. Last week, they helped evaluate 11 options for renovating or demolishing the campus.  CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

NORTH EASTHAM The Nauset Regional High School Building Committee voted Feb. 27 to send six of 11 options for the future of the aged campus to the state School Building Authority for review. They included two required schemes: one with no changes except bringing the buildings up to code and adding a total of 7,400 square feet to two buildings and another based on full demolition and all-new construction.

The real action will be within the four remaining options in between that range, from retaining 37 to 74 percent of the existing campus plus new construction. The preliminary design plan submitted last week includes the six options as well as reports of teacher interviews and community workshops and an updated educational plan. Orleans and other Nauset region residents will be invited to community forums as specifics for the options are developed further.

All options except the no-demo alternative are based on the 220,350 square feet of buildings approved as the target for the expanded campus, which is 184,600 square feet today. “We are not planning every academic space” at this point, architect Kent Kovacs of Flansburgh Architects told the committee. “That's going way too far. We're capturing square footage and the essence of the community vs. academic (space) and refining it a little bit more.”

Kovacs walked the committee through a collection of layouts as members used a score sheet to record the points they gave each option. When votes on the original 11 schemes were totaled, options 4B (351 points), 4A (328), and 5B (325.5) led in that order.

Option 4B would demolish the F and N buildings and half of D, renovating 132,200 square feet and adding 88,150 square feet. “We stay out of the septic (system) area and off the water main,” Kovacs said of the configuration. A new community entrance to a cluster comprised of the gym, cafeteria, performing arts center and music classrooms would be opened on the southeastern edge of the campus, facilitating after-hours use. “It's flipped from the original design of the campus,” said Kovacs,

Option 4A would demolish E and F buildings and move the performing arts center westward toward the center of the campus. Under this scheme, 136,400 square feet would be renovated and 83,950 added. Option 5B would take down buildings A, C, E and F and arrange a north-south layout with the performing arts center and student center at the top of the map. 5B “forms two courtyards,” Kovacs noted, “the academic near the student center, library, and academic entrance and then a kind of arts courtyard to the north and east in front of the performing arts center and the gymnasium.”

Option 5A was considered the unimproved version of 5B, and though it drew more votes (318) than 6b (311), it was the latter that was picked for the last of the six options to pass along to the state. All the remaining options were scored below 300, including the mandatory renovation-only and full demolition schemes. As for 6B, it would see buildings C, E, F, G, and N demolished and the campus moved to the north and west, opening up expanded parking opportunities on the east.

Fielding questions on specifics, Kovacs said that actual floor plans for buildings “will be produced in the next round. (The state School Building Authority) doesn't want you to over-design these buildings too early.”

This preliminary report to MSBA requires evidence that the committee “is reaching out to other buildable areas in the community,” Kovacs said. “The outcomes need to be, 'Yes, the project needs to be somewhere else' or 'We looked at other communities and it's not feasible.” Nauset Superintendent Tom Conrad said he had received responses from two of the four Nauset towns and expected the others later that week.

Watch for another round of community forums in each town on the project. As Principal Christopher Ellsasser told the committee, “Having grown up here, I know going to each town is important.” He recommended a policy of “We come to you, not you come to us.”