The Site - School & Fields

an existing school, playfields, a waterway & an abandoned wellfield...

LARGE, YES...BUT COMPLICATED

The Lynch School site is almost 18 acres, some of which are wooded or subject to flooding. The site lacks adequate parking, has two separate unconnected vehicular access points with neighborhoods on each side, and has wetlands on site. Horn Pond Brook, which connects to the Aberjona River, abuts the property. The site also includes a large play field shared with the Town Recreation Department. Significant portions of the Lynch Elementary School site, which includes soccer and baseball fields, lies in the floodway and/or 100-year flood plain.

Composite Site Plan Analysis, Warner Larson Landscape Architects

REGULATORY RESTRICTIONS & LIMITATIONS

The developable areas of the site are defined by wetland and river setbacks, wellhead zones I & II protection areas and FEMA 100 & 500-year floodplain. Most of the athletic fields lie in the FEMA 100-year floodplain of the Horn Pond Brook that flows north to south along the east side of the site. A 200-foot riverfront area of Horn Pond Brook overlaps the east end of the existing building Any work in the riverfront area would be subject to Town of Winchester Conversation Commission approval and would need to comply with DEP regulations. Most of the site is within the wellhead protection Zone II and the Zone I circle overlays most of the central developable area of the site.

Wat about a wellhead protection zone? In 1937 a driven well field was constructed in the Horn Pond Brook Valley (see Water Department land in site plan, above). This well field was used for years to supplement Winchester's supply from the reservoir (long before MWRA partnership). In 1952 the well field was designated as a reserve source only and in 1957 during a drought, the wells were pumped dry. The pump house was burned by vandals shortly thereafter and the wellfield has been abandoned ever since. The pumphouse foundations can still be found in the woods today.

CAN THE WELL FIELD BE USED?

We are looking into it. At nearly four acres, the well field parcel is large but is not under the control of the School Committee. After a December review of initial site options, the EFPBC requested the School Committee consider a land transfer (the parcel is currently under control of the Select Board).

The project team is evaluating what opportunities this land may present towards the development of the new Lynch school. The Town is evaluating the regulatory MassDEP requirements for public water supply well decommissioning and permitting for the work. At the same time, the design team is evaluating other restrictions, including significant grade change, a stand of mature pines, and a significant portion of the parcel already supporting the existing youth playfields. Any land transfer would require a vote of the Select Board, School Committee, and subsequently approval of Spring Town Meeting.

1958 site plan showing well field pump house (right) opposite Carter Street