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Cambridge breaks ground on new elementary, upper schools

Posted by Brock Parker  June 17, 2013 04:56 PM

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Cambridge officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new elementary and upper school facility on Putnam Avenue Monday. Photo courtesy the City of Cambridge.

Cambridge city and school officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School and Putnam Avenue Upper School Monday.

Demolition and abatement work of hazardous materials have already begun at the old kindergarten through 8th grade school at 100 Putnam Ave., and in its place the school district will build a junior kindergarten through 5th grade school that will share common space with a new upper school for students in the 6th through 8th grade.

The project is estimated at almost $85 million and the start of construction for foundation, steel and geothermal work is expected to begin this fall, according to the city. A final construction phase is expected to begin in December.

The city has hired architectural firm Perkins Eastman, which has offices in Boston, to design a “net zero” building that generates through clean, renewable sources at least as much energy as it consumes. The design is scheduled to be completed and put out to bid by early fall and the schools are scheduled to be ready for occupancy by September 2015.

The new schools will have geothermal wells to extract heat from the ground and help keep down energy costs and to conserve water the schools will have a storage system for “gray water,” such as storm runoff that can be reused. The design will also use glass and other design elements to enable natural light to pass through the building and an automatic light dimming system to conserve energy.

The new schools will be 82 percent more efficient than the average American school, according to the city.

More information about the project can be found online here.

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