The Hamilton Chapel was built in 1840 and moved from Connecticut to a prominent position on the Belmont Hill campus in 1960. Since then, it has housed weekly assemblies, occasional lectures, and fall and spring school concerts. For quite a while, the chapel has been too small to accommodate both the faculty and students. The primary impetus for the current expansion is to increase the seat count so that the school’s 450 students and 75 faculty members can attend all-school assemblies.
The existing building is approximately 8,250 gross square feet in total area and is 2-stories above grade with a basement. The above grade levels are utilized for assembly gathering space which includes fixed bench seating on the ground floor and balcony. The basement is currently underutilized. The addition includes a new footprint area of 2,500 gross square feet for approximately 5,000 square feet of added program space. The renovation will include new electrical and mechanical systems, an enlarged stage platform, added bench pews, and the fit out of a reception room in the lower level. As the construction budget is over 30% of the assessed value of the building, upgrades will be required in order to comply with 521 CMR for Existing Buildings.
While the primary purpose of the project is to increase the seating capacity, the project will bear numerous secondary, and equally noteworthy, benefits for the school community.