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West Somerville Neighborhood School - Schoolyard Renovation

Existing Schoolyard

The West Somerville Neighborhood School (WSNS) is located at 177 Powder House Boulevard in Ward 7. The school was built in 1995 to replace the old Cutler School, and the building includes a gymnasium for recreation use during inclement weather. The WSNS serves students pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Existing WSNS Schoolyard

The current WSNS schoolyard is lacking quality recreation and educational opportunities and natural features. While the existing basketball and other court games provide valuable activity spaces, the expanse of cracked and uneven asphalt, and the existing older 2-5 play structure, are in need of replacement.

The new WSNS schoolyard design will encompass the existing schoolyard, the surrounding concrete walls, the current 2-5 playground area, and portions of the upper faculty parking lot, where new tree plantings and a space for the relocated dumpster will be incorporated.

The final design will be determined through a comprehensive community process and will consider school and community needs for girls’ and boys’ physical, educational, and social activity. Features will include imaginative play spaces, climbing structures, tree plantings, wall graphics, seating areas, and new lighting.

The funding for the WSNS schoolyard design was provided by the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in response to an application jointly submitted by WSNS parents and the Public Space and Urban Forestry Department (PSUF).  To date, in conjunction with our team of Landscape Architects from CBA Landscape Architecture, the City has held two community meetings and several meetings with WSNS staff and representatives.

Design and Community Meetings

October 13, 2021: Community Meeting 4. Present final design.

June 14, 2021: Community Meeting 3. Present Schematic Design Alternatives based on Previous meeting input. Community review and discussion with the goal of developing a final Preferred Design Plan.

March 2020 – May 2021: WSNS Design delayed by COVID PANDEMIC

January 22, 2020: WSNS Staff Input Session 2: Met with school faculty to discuss preliminary Schematic Designs under development.

December 11, 2019: Community Meeting 2: Held by City and CBA Landscape Architects. Present site analysis and precedents. Present rough conceptual designs based on previous community input process by the City, and develop list to guide Schematic Designs for future meetings.

November 5, 2019: WSNS Staff Input Session: Met with school faculty during a Professional Development day to receive input about schoolyard issues and concerns.

December 2018: Preliminary Community Meeting 1: Held by City Staff. Collected community input about desires for the schoolyard redesign.

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