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Pingree Unveils Plans for New Athletic Center, Arts Addition

A new athletic building and arts addition is planned at Pingree School.

Pingree School unveiled plans on Tuesday to build a new athletic building and expand its arts wing.

The new 35,000 athletic building will go in space that is now a parking lot across the driveway from the hockey rink.

Ultimately, the Hamilton Zoning Board of Appeals will be asked to grant the permits. But on Tuesday night, the Planning Board took an initial look at the plans.

This summer, Pingree built a new septic system under the hockey rink parking lot.

“We wanted to get that out of the way ahead of time,” said Jock Burns, Pingree’s Director of Finance.

The school hopes to break ground on the new athletic building and arts addition in spring 2013. The total cost of all the work is estimated at $10 million, according to an application filed with the board.

A 14,000 square foot arts and theater addition has been proposed to the rear of the arts wing. Burns said the existing theater was added on to the school’s main building in the late 1980s.

The new athletic building will meet the state’s environmentally-friendly “stretch code,” since Hamilton is a Green Community and will also increase a solar array on the south-facing roof, Burns said.

The greatest concern from board members was about the parking. The project’s architect, Art Dioli, said the same number of parking spaces would exist after construction is completed.

The school could have added more spaces but did "not want to create a Wal-Mart effect on campus," Dioli said.

The parking spaces taken up by the new athletic building would be replaced by added parking in the rink parking lot, where the septic system is being installed now, and around the new building. There are 107 parking spaces now and there would be 107 spaces after construction, Dioli said.

Dioli said school officials met with the building department and fire department. The driveway around the new athletic building would help traffic flow on campus, Dioli said.

“It looks very attractive,” Clark said.

A new driveway is also being planned that will separate drop-off and pick-up traffic from through traffic on the driveway that would go between the rink and the new athletic building.

The board spent about 45 minute reviewing the plans and asking questions.

Burns said the school does not plan to increase enrollment and does not plan to host any more games. The new athletic facility will allow more practices to occur at the same time, he said.

“That’s really what the main issue is,” Burns said.

Clark encouraged Pingree officials to “look at parking carefully.”

He said he wants to make sure there is enough parking on campus in there are multiple events happening at once.

“There would be a pyramiding of events,” he said.

Burns said the school would continue to use the existing gym space.

Ed Howard, a Planning Board member, said he was also concerned about the runoff from the roof of the athletic center. The roof will increase the velocity of runoff, Howard said.

"I'm not hostile at all to what you are proposing," Howard said, later adding: "It would be a better plan if the runoff was slowed."

The Planning Board will again review the plan on Sept. 4 and the Zoning Board on Sept. 5.

Peter Bridger August 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Since private schools in Hamilton and Wenham pay no taxes, why do we not ask for something back in return when they build a multi-million dollar facility? We could at least ask for use of the athletic facility be open to Hamilton Wenham residents one day a week or one evening a week. Hamilton-Wenham police and Fire will be required to respond to the needs of this facility free of charge. How about something in return for these services as well as other services that will be provided by the towns.
Beth Webber August 23, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Let's ask the churches to do the same.

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