The Town of Saugus along with the School Administration, School Committee, and the Saugus High School Project Building Committee selected the design team led by HMFH Architects, Inc. to develop a district-wide master plan to analyze the school facilities, educational delivery, and grade configuration. Saugus was invited into the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) pipeline for eligible funding for the Saugus High School, and before commencing the design process for the high school, the Town determined that it was best to think holistically about its school system and the current facilities and grade structure. An underlying theme of equity among the school facilities and educational offerings with a goal toward parity guided the assessment process.
Currently, Saugus Public Schools operate four kindergarten through fifth grade elementary schools, one middle school that serves sixth through eighth grades, and one high school for ninth through twelfth grade students. Additionally, the Town supports one preschool facility and the school department’s district offices are located at Roby, a former school building.
The master plan included assessment of six school buildings (Ballard, Belmonte, Lynnhurst, Oaklandvale, Veterans Memorial, and Waybright) and the Roby School Administration Building. The educational spaces and space utilization were reviewed and assessed to determine how well the facilities meet the needs of the student population.
The master planning effort included educational visioning workshops facilitated by educational planner Dr. Frank Locker, the outcomes of which have been to share current teaching modalities and set goals for the future of teaching and learning at Saugus Public Schools. A cross-section of the community participated in the workshops providing diverse perspectives and interests, but all in attendance had one goal in mind: to provide and foster the best educational experience for Saugus’ students by actively engaging them in individualized learning and collaboration.
District-wide alternatives for a variety of grade configuration and physical plant options were developed. The alternatives ranged from keeping the existing grade configuration and quantity of school buildings to reconfiguring the grade structure and thereby altering the quantity of school buildings and, in some cases, altering the building interior layouts. Conceptual costs for the various alternatives were developed to provide cost comparisons for future planning. The following paragraph summarizes the alternative determined to be most preferable by the project design team, the School Committee, and the School Building Committee.
The first phase is construction of a new Middle/High School for grades 6-12, followed by demolition of the existing Saugus High School. Next, minor renovations will be done to establish the Belmonte Middle School as an Upper Elementary School for grades 3 through 5, and the school department’s district offices will be relocated to the Belmonte Upper Elementary School from the Roby Building. Finally, the Veterans Memorial Elementary School will become a Lower Elementary School for Pre-K through grade 2 via a 15,500 square foot addition and some renovations.