Howe School Study
Billerica Public Access Television
After a careful review of the existing abandoned Howe School building, PRA developed a program for the proposed adaptive re-use of the structure by Billerica Public Access Television. This plan incorporates both historic restoration to preserve this important Billerica landmark and an addition to meet the needs of the BATV use and current building and accessibility codes.
Given the historical significance of the building and its prominent exposure to Boston Road, an addition is proposed to the rear of the building. While the existing front door will symbolically remain and be reconstructed to its original design, the proposed design locates the main entry to the building in the rear addition. This entry location, convenient to parking, is also designed to provide an accessible building entrance.
Preservation concerns are recognized in the design of the restoration and proposed addition to the Howe School. Following the guidelines of the US Department of the Interior, the proposed work has been guided by the following tenants:
- Preserve significant historical materials, features and form;
- Be compatible;
- Be differentiated from the historic building.
The design of the proposed addition at the rear of the building preserves the property’s historic character, and the addition is designed to be visually distinguishable from the historic building, yet utilizing materials and massing sympathetic with the original.
Given the multi-story configuration of the renovated Howe School, PRA and BATV developed a grouping of spaces based on patterns of use in the building and preferred flow to both public use and behind the scenes production work. Modern technology and building infrastructure is incorporated to facilitate TV studio and production facilities, carefully integrated to avoid disrupting the historical building.
Currently BATV is working to secure a long-term lease with the Town of Billerica to facilitate moving forward with the planned work.