The adaptive reuse of the 50,000-square-foot 1927 Hudson High School building located on Oviatt Street in Hudson’s Historic District goes far beyond the preservation and repurposing of a single structure. This is one of Hudson’s last opportunities to retain a significant public building within the historic center.
With the relocation of three significant public buildings/operations from the Historic District — the post office (1997), library (2004) and the city/town hall (2013) — residents have fewer reasons to go to the historic downtown. At one time, the Hudson Town Hall was the social center of the community; it included a fire department, a police station, civic offices and a community meeting room/theater with stage on the second floor.
The 1927 HHS Building was designed, built and integrated into the surrounding neighborhood and continues to be part of the historic fabric of the community. Its unique location, walkable setting and physical relationship to the school campuses, neighborhood and historic downtown have given it unique importance in the community.
HHA’S VISION FOR A COMMUNITY / CULTURAL CENTER
The adaptive reuse and repurposing of the 1927 Building as a community/cultural arts center could provide a unique venue to bring people, community organizations and institutions together in the village core for shared experiences in arts and culture, youth and senior education/services, and civic and social activities.
Hudson has over thirty art, civic, community, cultural, educational, and social/service organizations, with many of these groups (both large and small) operating, sharing, and competing for spaces that are often difficult to schedule, inadequate for a variety of uses and/or lack adequate seating capacity. In contrast, the 1927 Building has unique spaces that are not found anywhere else in Hudson, particularly the 600‐seat auditorium with balcony, projection booth and stage house.
Potential uses for a community/cultural arts center include artist studio/gallery space, dance, conference/meeting rooms, classroom/program space, civic/community/organization offices, a senior center, makerspace, theater, music and performing/visual arts. For more information on HHA’s community/cultural arts center concept and approach, please click this button…
The 1927 HHS Building’s 600-seat theater/auditorium with stage and balcony.
FEASIBILITY STUDY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
While the Hudson City School District continues to work with Liberty Development on a proposed concept of condominiums for the 1927 HHS Building and surrounding site, Hudson Heritage Association is working to preserve the important role of this building and engaging in a feasibility study that was initially defined in our response to the Request for Proposal from the HCSD in March 2020.
Because of the limited time we have in determining the fate of this building, the HHA Board has recently agreed to proceed with the hiring of a consultant who will help determine the needs, uses and aspirations of the Hudson community and how these could be incorporated into the 1927 Building.
The Feasibility Study is divided into two phases:
The initial phase will include a market assessment, competitive analysis and community survey. The goal is to identify community needs and potential uses. The survey will invite the community to provide valuable input on the future of the building, the neighborhood and historic district.
If Phase One proves the viability of a community/cultural arts center and there is a consensus on the recommended direction, we will proceed with Phase Two, which will include the development of a business plan for how the redeveloped 1927 Building should be programmed, operated, financed and sustained.
FEASIBILITY STUDY TIMELINE AND HCSD CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE
The feasibility study will take approximately three months to complete. The HCSD’s demolition schedule/timeline indicates that the school’s eastern additions (and potentially the 1927 Building itself) will be torn down this summer.
We hope the HCSD reviews the community-driven feasibility study in conjunction with the developer’s plan. It is our hope that with two viable options on the table, the district will find a suitable option for the preservation and adaptive reuse of the 1927 Building that will meet the needs of our community.
This community-driven concept for a community/cultural arts center has gained increasing support, and we anticipate that during the next few months this support will grow even stronger. Through careful planning and community discussions, the 1927 Building can remain a true community asset in the heart of our community.
Please join us in preserving and repurposing this important historic structure. HHA will soon reach out to our members and the Hudson community with an invitation to contribute financially to this initiative. We are hopeful that other community organizations and individuals would rather pursue a cultural arts/community center concept than a residential development and will lend financial support to the feasibility study.
We will share details about our fundraising efforts soon, and we look forward to sharing our progress!
Christopher J. Bach
Hudson Heritage Association