Working Towards Community-Focused Redevelopment of the Fernald School Site

Charrette Recap


On Saturday May 30, the Fernald Working Group held a community planning charrette as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that community and local needs are voiced in the development process for Fernald. Over 30 people stopped by, including Mayor McCarthy, State Representative Tom Stanley, and Councilors McLaughlin, Darcy, McMenimen, LeBlanc, and Vizard. In the morning work session, the Fernald site was divided into three sections. Participants were given site conditions of their section, along with key questions over potential use, and were asked to come up with design recommendations. David Gamble AIA AICP LEED AP, gave a keynote speech over lunch discussing other similar challenging urban design projects across the US. In the afternoon, groups were mixed so that a new cross section of attendees could look broadly across the entire Fernald site and refine key principles for redevelopment.

Participants were frustrated with the lack of knowledge and transparency on everything from current building condition and underground infrastructure to proposed budget and development plan. In order for the site to remain a community asset, attendees felt that six key principles should be followed. These focused on hydrology, the historic campus feel, and transit and infrastructure needs of the site and surrounding neighborhoods. Participants felt that a Master Plan, including transparent public input and information, and economic analysis for budgeting, is the next vital step for planning its development.

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To stay involved, be sure to check back often, and consider attending this month’s Fernald Working Group meeting – June 16th, 7:30pm, WATCH (24 Crescent St)