The original Hudson High School building in the heart of Hudson’s Historic District is on the verge of being redeveloped into a Hollywood stage-set façade.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The school was opened in 1927 and has served our community’s children for almost a century. In June, it reaches the end of its useful life, at least for the Hudson City School District.
Liberty Development Co. has twice offered its ideas on how to redevelop it. The latest plan, an update to its original (and roundly panned) proposal, calls for demolishing the back three-quarters of the building – including the impressive 600- seat auditorium. That would leave only the front of the school as a façade to hide a townhouse development behind it.
Liberty calls it “historic preservation.”
Hudson Heritage Association disagrees.
Hudson can do better.
HHA has no objection to redeveloping the building for residential use – Hudson needs more housing options – but we strongly object to demolition of any part of this historic building.
Preserving only the façade would set a precedent that could, over time, put many of Hudson’s most important homes and buildings at risk. It sets a low bar.
The school district says its schedule is tight. Officials say potential alternatives to the Liberty proposal must happen fast – prior to June. But is such haste really necessary? Yes, the demolition of the post-1927 additions behind the school can and should proceed as soon as they are no longer needed. But delaying the demolition of the 1927 Building to allow for other possibilities – possibilities that are now being explored – must be considered.
We have lost more than a year to the COVID pandemic. Hudson’s students, parents and teachers displayed inspiring flexibility and understanding over the past 12 months. We hope the school district can display the same with its timeline.
The potential options for the 1927 Building are exciting, especially as our economy awakens from a pandemic slumber: a university extension, small-business incubator, vocational school and, perhaps most intriguing, a community/cultural-arts center.
Hudson has over 30 arts, civic, community, cultural, educational and social/service organizations. Many of these groups share and compete for space that is difficult to schedule and inadequate for their use. The 1927 Building offers ample and unique spaces.
Hudson Heritage Association is now conducting a comprehensive feasibility study to examine the 1927 Building’s potential as a community/cultural-arts center, how it would be used, who would use it and how it could be purchased, owned, operated, financed and sustained.
In the coming days, we will interview and survey community organizations, government and business leaders, and residents. Your input will be crucial to determining the needs and aspirations of our community and how they could be fulfilled with a repurposed 1927 Building.
Our effort is community-driven and gaining momentum. As more residents realize the value of this building and its location, support will only grow stronger.
This is not only an issue of preservation. A restored and repurposed 1927 Building would be an economic-development opportunity for the city, one that could complement and enhance the
economic activity near Main Street. We ask city officials to explore that potential.
The 1927 Building has stood proudly in the heart of our town for 94 years. It has served tens of thousands of students. Many of its graduates have remained or returned to Hudson to see their own children walk its halls. To simply demolish it – or “amputate” it – would be a tragedy and a waste.
Hudson’s residents paid to build the school and to maintain it for nearly a century. We all share ownership of this one-of-kind asset.
To our fellow Hudson residents, we urge you to reach out to the superintendent, the board of education and city council to voice your opposition to Liberty’s current development proposal.
Let’s not settle for this façade of a plan.
Thank you for sharing our commitment to Hudson.
Board of Directors
Hudson Heritage Association