Marlborough’s Hillside School envisions new building at site of barn fire

The Hillside School in Marlborough is envisioning a new facility at the site of a barn that burned down in 2021. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – The Hillside School in Marlborough has submitted a notice of intent to build an elementary school at the site of a barn that was destroyed in a fire early last year.

The matter then went before the Conservation Commission last week as part of Marlborough’s review process.

Located at 192 Robin Hill Street, this 20.25-acre site has historically been used by Hillside, a boys boarding school, for its agricultural curriculum. The barn on the site, however, was leveled by that 2021 blaze, with the barn eventually being deemed a “total loss.”

New facility would offer day school services

Hillside is now looking to build a 7,450-square foot academic building for day school services for kindergarten through third grade students, according to the recent notice of intent.

That filing predicted that the total number of students and staff in the building would be 60.

It also said that there are still auxiliary agricultural structures on the site including greenhouses and a poultry barn. While these structures would be demolished as part of this new project, an existing residential structure on the site would remain.

Hillside sees uptick in day school interest

The Hillside School in Marlborough is envisioning a new facility at the site of a barn that burned down in 2021. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

Some of the site contains areas protected by the state Wetlands Protection Act. That necessitated public hearing at a May 5 meeting of Marlborough’s Conservation Commission.

Representatives of Hannigan Engineering, which is working with Hillside, spoke with city officials about the boundaries of the protected areas, discussing ways to ensure that the space is properly delineated.

One of those Hannigan representatives, Chris Anderson, added on May 5 that, due to COVID-19, the Hillside School has seen fewer foreign exchange students enrolling in on-site boarding programs.

“They’re starting to migrate towards more of a day school program,” Anderson said, noting the school’s plans to construct this addition to its day school offerings.

Plans now move forward, with the Conservation Commission anticipating continued discussion at its next meeting on May 19.

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