TOWNSEND -- Planning a new high school, designed to last 50 years, takes lots of planning and design work. Everything from color schemes to materials needs to be functional and come in on budget.

To that end, an LED entry sign is once again an option for the new school, Alex Pitkin, of Symmes, Maini & McKee Associates told the North Middlesex Regional School District Building Committee on Monday.

The cost for the sign remained in the cost estimate even though designers thought it had been removed, he said, adding that the $25,000 in the budget is reasonable.

Planners also learned that Townsend permits one lighted message board.

"It's great the zoning allows that," Pitkin said.

At the request of public-safety officials, one of the three planned entrances from Route 119 will be eliminated, said Peter Collins, senior associate at Heery and project manager. The final design will have two entrances from the state road and one from Proctor Road.

Some changes may need to be made to striping in the parking lots to accommodate a helicopter landing area. The police chief also asked about upgrades to the flashing lights but any changes would need to be approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Collins said.

Materials and colors for the interior of the building will continue to be adjusted as the committee selects design options, said Lianne Vivilecchia, senior associate at Stefura Associates.


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"It's a public bid process," she said.

Different flooring materials will be used throughout the school including porcelain, sheet linoleum, vinyl composite tiles, carpet, rubber, wood and cement.

Blocks of color will designate areas in large rooms, said Amanda Shaw, of Stefura Associates. High traffic areas will be darker than seating areas.

Along the hallways, accents will help with wayfinding. In some areas of the school, students will be able to look right and left and tell by the colors which way to go.

The design working group preferred a cool, blue color palate, Vivilecchia said. In some areas in the school, the interior walls will echo the granite and brick exterior.

The classrooms will have contrasting areas of flooring, wood-grained cabinets and white boards.

Each classroom will also have an interactive or computer display wall, said Jeremy Hamon, director of technology services at the district. The team is still working with consultants to determine the final technologies.

"That's what they are going to do when they go out to work," said Townsend Selectman Sue Lisio. "They better get used to seeing it today."

Projection screens and monitors will be placed throughout the building. More information and student work can go in single and double-sided display cases, and on tack boards conforming to building safety codes.

The music room will have acoustical wall panels to help with sound. The acoustical engineer will determine the final layout of the panels, said Lorraine Finnegan, project manager at Symmes Maini & McKee Associates.

The art room will have a polished concrete floor with a fairly neutral grey wall and wood tone cabinets and plenty of room to hang artwork from the walls and ceiling, Shaw said.

"If there's a surface in an art room, it will be covered," said Hamon.

The committee looked at the color and carpet samples the working group liked and chose their favorites.

The interior design team will use the committee's preferences and come back with more suggestions for materials and colors.