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Harwood bond project starts with middle school visioning

The Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board is working out details of how to pursue a bond proposed to renovate and modernize Harwood Union Middle/High School. An important early step in the process is a workshop focused on middle level education on June 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. More information on the workshop and the process as a whole is provided below, but first we want to be clear that we are currently seeking two volunteers from each of our six towns to participate. We hope you will consider being a part of these first conversations.

Those interested in participating in the June 21 event should contact the HUUSD Board representatives from their town by June 15. Board representative contact information can be found at: tinyurl.com/HUUSDboard.

PROJECT OVERVIEW:

Harwood Union was built in 1965 and has been well-maintained for more than 50 years. As building codes and teaching practices have evolved; and infrastructure and systems have aged, it has become increasingly clear Harwood is in need of an overhaul as we strive to meet the needs of today’s students.

On May 16, the HUUSD Board voted to revive the Harwood bond project that had been put on hold before Act 46 merger activities and to continue working with the architectural firm TruexCullins of Burlington.

Because our district is now merged, we have new options available for how we provide middle level education. Visioning for our district middle school experience is the first phase of the process, which will start with TruexCullins facilitating a workshop to help the community articulate its vision for students at the middle level. The workshop will be held June 21, from 5 to 8 p.m., and will include: administrators from Crossett Brook Middle School and Harwood Union Middle School (HUMS); teachers and staff from both schools; board members; and community members from each town. For the community member participants, we hope to have two from each town: one parent of a student in the district, and one resident who does currently not have a student in the district. The goal of the workshop is to develop guiding principles for the middle school experience.

Later this summer, engineers, contractors and architects will evaluate the two middle school buildings to determine their current physical state, configuration, and capacity. TruexCullins will use information from the visioning workshop and data collection phase to identify options with cost estimates for the middle schools. In September, TruexCullins will present its findings and recommendations to the board.

The second phase of the project will begin in September, and focus on visioning for the full scope of work at Harwood. It will revisit ideas generated through workshops that were held in 2015, when TruexCullins originally started work on this project with the former Harwood HS/MS board. There will also be new conversations at a second workshop like the one for the middle level.

In October, TruexCullins will make a public presentation and the board will vote whether to move into the design/development phase. Throughout the process there will be ongoing opportunities for public comment, participation in activities and a continuing dialogue around how best to meet the current and future needs of HUUSD students on the Harwood campus.

More information about the bond project is available on the board page of the HUUSD website: www.wwsu.org.

HUUSD Board

Christine Sullivan (Waitsfield), Caitlin Hollister (Waterbury), Alycia Biondo (Warren), Jill Ellis (Fayston),

Gabe Gilman (Moretown), Peter Langella (Moretown), Garett MacCurtain (Duxbury), Maureen McCracken (Waterbury), Theresa Membrino (Fayston), Melissa Phillips (Waterbury), Torrey Smith (Duxbury),  

Alexandra Thomsen (Waterbury), Rosemarie White (Warren), Rob Williams (Waitsfield).

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