By Carol Britton Meyer
The Planning Board recently began its review of the proposal to build a new Foster Elementary School, contingent on voter approval at the Nov. 1 Special Town Meeting and subsequently at the ballot box Nov. 8.
The proposal calls for a three-story, 126,385-square-foot building with related improvements at 55 Downer Ave. The existing building is roughly 72,000 square feet. About seven of the 40 acres that comprise the site are developable.
The proposal focuses on taking advantage of the natural surroundings. Features include a basketball court, softball field, a wilderness classroom with a raised boardwalk perched over the wetlands, 134 shade trees to create a canopy, tennis courts, an accessible path through the play spaces, additional parking, electric vehicle charging stations, a community garden, and a therapeutic learning center and language-based classroom for special education programs.
The groundbreaking is expected to occur in the Spring of 2023, with the new building occupied in Sept. 2024 and fully completed by Spring 2025 if all goes as planned.
"Overall, a lot of progress has been made on these plans," Planning Board Chair Judith Sneath said. "We will get into more detail at our next meeting," which is scheduled for Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.