Preserving A Legacy
As outlined in the District’s 2016 Master Facility Plan, the old Middle School, comprised of the 1927 Building and multiple additions, are being used as a school through June 2021. In the summer and fall of 2021, the school district will demolish the additions. If an acceptable use for the property that includes qualified funding can be found, the original 53,000 square foot 1927 Building will remain.
The concept for the 1927 Building Study Committee was developed in February 2018 with feedback from the Board of Education after a group of residents advocated for the preservation of the facade/streetview of the building in lieu of demolition. The Committee held its first meeting on September 19, 2018. The Committee met monthly to discuss the potential reuse of the building for purposes other than a school.
On October 28, 2019, at the regular meeting of the Board of Education, Superintendent Phil Herman and Committee Representative Greg Hannan presented the approach and findings of the 1927 Building Committee Study. A community-wide mailer announced in advance the date and time of the live streamed and televised meeting.
As originally proposed, the work of the Committee culminated with the issuance and review of a Request For Proposal (RFP), which was released in January 2020, and a public presentation of the committee’s scope of work. Multiple developers toured the building prior to and during the Request for Proposal process; however, no developers submitted an RFP for consideration. The Hudson Heritage Association submitted an RFP proposal for consideration that suggested the building could be used for an arts and culture center. The HHA submission contained a recommendation suggesting that a feasibility study (approximately $25,000) be conducted in Hudson to gauge community potential/interest in funding this multimillion-dollar project and its ongoing business operations.
What Happened Next
In August 2020, Dru Siley, Vice President for Liberty Development, and a 1991 Hudson graduate, approached Hudson City Schools with a concept for repurposing the 1927 Building into privately owned high-end condos, and limited new residential construction of carriage houses to be located behind the 1927 Building. In addition, the proposal includes two single family homes to be built on Oviatt, matching the character of the existing houses on the street, and then sold to private owners. This concept was previewed with the Board of Education, the 1927 Building Committee, and the Hudson Heritage Executive Board. In addition, 174 neighbors living in the proximity of the building received letters of invitation to join a Zoom meeting on November 30, 2020, to learn more about the proposal. In February, 2021, three open Zoom meetings, February 1, 9, & 10, were held by Superintendent Phil Herman and Dru Siley to introduce an initial concept of a plan proposal for residential housing. A community-wide mailer was sent to all residents and businesses Hudson announcing the Zoom meetings. After each meeting, community, community leaders, and alumni, all comments and feedback from the meetings were recorded and considered. In addition, neighbors and residents also attended the last Board of Education meeting in February to further reiterate some of their concerns. These concerns include: retaining and upgrading the building facade, the street scape view, the preservation of the trees, the density of the proposed housing, and the need for a zoning change, and traffic. After carefully listening to all concerns, the plans were changed.
A second round of two community Zoom meetings were held on March 10th and March 11th to present the newly revised, significantly changed plan for the Liberty residential proposal. The changes made are the direct result of community feedback from the meetings and in emails to the Board, superintendent Phil Herman, and Liberty Development. The new plan reduces the number of owner-occupied residences to five high-end townhouses in the saved portion of the 1927 Building (approximately 1/3 of the building/plus new construction), eight new carriage house behind the main 1927 portion of the building, and a single family renovation/construction addition to existing Oviatt House located on Oviatt Street. The full front lawn, sidewalk, and trees remain as is. The remaining portion of 1927 Building facade will be restored, including the rebuilding of the grand steps and the replacement of its period style lighting. No new homes will be constructed on Oviatt. The newly revised plan also satisfies the density and zoning requirements of the residential area. For more details about the plan, including answers to questions about parking, traffic, views, and green space, please view either the March 10 or 11 recorded Zoom meeting. The Sunday, February 21, 2021, Hudson Hub-Times, front page article, featured the original plan, and the Sunday, March 13, 2021 Hudson Hub-Times, front page article, features the scaled-back, newly revised plan and some of the general comments from the meetings.
All Zoom meetings were advertised in the Hub, posted on the District's website, and posted on social media. Invitations were mailed to 174 neighbors, and email invitations were once again issued to alumni and community leaders. The meetings are recorded and posted on this webpage as well as on the main page of the District's website. The meetings were also live streamed and broadcast by HCTV. In addition to the Zoom meetings, there is a wealth of information contained in the 1927 Building Study Committee notes and other presentations about how we have arrived to where we are today in the process.
At this time, the process is still on-going. For additional questions and concerns, please don't hesitate to call or email the Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any Board of Education member.