New building committee enters the design phase

John Guerrera, News Editor

As part of the town’s efforts to improve educational benefits, safety, and accessibility of the high school, the FHS Building Committee has partnered with two architectural firms that will present multiple conceptual options for evaluation against the needs of the current building.

Committee Chair Meghan Guerrera, who currently has two sons attending the high school, helps to focus the team on specific goals.

“The goal of the FHS Building Committee is to present a comprehensive solution that meets the needs by evaluating value and cost. The committee is taking into consideration the feedback of the community, Board of Education, and FHS faculty, staff, and students” Guerrera said.

In September, the committee unanimously appointed the Hartford based TSKP Studio and the local Farmington architectural firm Quisenberry Arcari Malik Architecture as the two architects to compete during the conceptual design phase of the project.

The architects will look to create high-level concept plans focusing on options for the maintenance, renovation, or reconstruction of the high school. The current proposals are the town’s second attempt to satisfy the needs of the existing building, as the first attempt was voted down in 2017.

In 2017 the committee only recruited one architecture firm for conceptual design; the addition of another firm is expected to be a valuable change to the process. Guerrera felt it was important to incorporate two architectural firms into the design phase.

“We believe that using a competitive design process will spark creativity and provide the committee with comprehensive options to evaluate,” Guerrera said.

The architectural team and the building committee will work together to develop plans that fill the academic and practical needs of the high school. Once all options have been created, a meeting with the Town Council will take place, where a project price and scope will be defined as well as a discussion of further steps.

On October 16, the committee put on a public event that showcased the current high school and defined the needs of the building. Both architectural firms were present at the event and provided logistics about the solutions, and answered questions from the public. Principal Scott Hurwitz attended the event and was excited to offer this opportunity to the community.

“The tours made five separate stops to outline, ask questions, and offer feedback around the major needs at FHS relating to NEASC accreditation and ADA compliance, energy efficiency, limitations to academic programming, safety and security challenges, and issues with the sprawling building layout,” Hurwitz said.