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The CES is located at 191 Dedham Street in Newton.  The School sits on a 322,065 square foot parcel 
(7.39 acres), which is comprised of approximately 65,000 sf of wetlands, 120,000 square feet of school 
and parking, and 137,065 square feet of open space currently used as a baseball field and playground.  
Approximately 2/3 of the site sits within the 200-foot Riverfront Protection Act area, including half of the existing building.  The water table is close to grade throughout most of the eastern portion of the site, 
including the areas where the annexes and modular classrooms are sited. 
The current CES, grades K through 5, is made up of three classrooms for each grade, has a current 
enrollment of 374 students as of November 2021, with an average classroom size of approximately 777 S.F.  
The MSBA and the City have agreed to evaluate enrollment alternatives as indicated above as part of the 
feasibility study. 
The original 35,910 gross square foot school was constructed in 1953 as a small neighborhood school 
consisting of 13 classrooms, a gym, library, auditorium, main office, two sets of girls’ and boys’ restrooms, 
and a pair of staff bathrooms. A 6-classroom annex addition was constructed in 1958 to address the rising 
school enrollment. A single bathroom with one fixture was added as part of this project. In 1986, two 
additional annex classrooms were constructed on the north end of the annex. In 1991, 1999, and 2000 a 
total of four modular classrooms and two offices were constructed. With the five additions adding a total 
of 13,702 gross square feet, the number of classrooms, staff, and students were doubled with no increase in 
support spaces like bathrooms, offices, storage, small group instruction, or special education.  The total area 
of the school is 49,612 gross square feet. 
Accessibility: A vertical lift was installed, which provides programmatic access to the second floor.  This 
lift was allowed at the time but is no longer allowed to be constructed as a permanent means of vertical 
accessible travel.  The "cab" of the lift is approximately 3' by 4' and can only accommodate one child and 
an adult, and in some cases an adult cannot fit.  Some restrooms have had minor investments made to 
improve accessibility, but currently there are no girls' restrooms that have the clearances needed to allow 
for wheelchair access, and there no accessible restroom stalls.  The boys' restrooms have accessible stalls, 
but clearances are insufficient for wheelchair access.  The ramp leading from the 1953 building to the 
annexes is not ADA or MAAB compliant. The playground is not programmatically accessible.  The door 
hardware is not accessible, and the signage throughout the building is not ADA compliant. 
HVAC:  The system is steam by natural gas with classroom unit ventilators with supplemental radiation. 
The steam boilers were replaced in 2007 and 2012.  The 2007 boiler has been completely submerged twice 
due to flooding in the school.  The boiler room has seen flood levels as high as 12 feet, which has taken its 
toll on the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment.  Most of the distribution system is original, 
beyond its useful life, and in poor condition.  There is limited control over the heating systems, and the 
school is not air conditioned.  Of the 9 RTU’s, 7 for the HVAC systems in the annexes and modular 
classrooms, are beyond useful life, failed, and/or in poor condition.  With exposed ductwork and mechanical 
systems, the acoustical performance negatively impacts the learning environment. 
Plumbing:  Most of the plumbing is original although some bathroom fixtures have been replaced.  Due to 
elevation challenges throughout the site, the sewage lines cannot pitch adequately to allow for gravity 
drainage.  Thus, there are sewage ejector pumps in small crawl spaces throughout the building.  These are 
no longer allowed by the plumbing code.  These pumps have failed numerous times, resulting in sewage 
flooding throughout the school.  The basement sits 6 feet below the water table and the boiler room sits 12 
feet below the water table. When the pumps fail the basement floods within a few hours, which is 
catastrophic as the much storage for curriculum materials, gym equipment, and custodial supplies and 
equipment is in the basement. 
Fire Protection and Detection:  The fire alarm panel was replaced in 2016, but only a small portion of 
the devices are addressable. Therefore, responses are likely only to the building, not to a specific area 
within the building. The fire alarm distribution system is in poor condition and needs to be replaced. 
The school has no fire suppression system.  The multi-zone fire alarm system is ADA compliant with 
auditorium and corridor smoke detectors and door holders. Heat detectors are in the basement, and 
there is a master box. 

Electrical: Lighting and lighting controls were replaced in 2017, but most of the electrical distribution is 
original. The entire building was converted to LED lighting including the exterior lighting. The main 
electrical switch gear is in poor condition and is in a flood-prone area. Electrical service equipment is in 
fair condition but without sufficient working clearances. The distribution system consists of circuit 
breaker panel boards with conduit and wire feeders and is 50+ years old. There is a 150kW diesel exterior 
generator that serves corridor, stair lighting and boilers, but it is not in a 2-hour fire-rated room for life 
safety system equipment. 
Needs and building conditions assessments and other background documents shall be available for 
informational purposes and include: 
• Newton Schools Long-Range Facilities Master Plan, updated November 21, 2011 Volumes 1 and 2:   
CES section on pages 38-42 of this document. 
• City of Newton Five-year Capital Improvement Program, dated October 4, 2021: 
• City of Newton City Historic Building Survey by BCA, dated September 2012 – CES section - 
• Original Construction Drawings (electronic Scans). 

Countryside Elementary School Existing Conditions Report

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