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Lakefront Beach Sees Much-Needed Upgrades
Opened at Fort Meadow Lake in 1966 as a celebration of the Town of Hudson’s centennial year, Centennial Beach has been a popular summertime spot for swimming and other forms of recreation. With its 350-foot shoreline, a sandy beach, picnic area and bathhouse, the site recently saw its first major upgrade, a $1.75 million project that made the site more accessible and addressed erosion issues.
“The overall beach renovation project goals were to provide a full renovation where we had ADA accessibility met to the highest level possible, to provide enough storage facilities for our lifeguards and beach staff, and to provide bathrooms that were not just ADA accessible but had the number of fixtures required to operate a facility of that size,” said Steven Santos, director of recreation for the Town of Hudson, Mass.
Prior to the renovations, he said, the site featured a 20-by-20 building with multi-use men’s and women’s rooms, each with three fixtures and one or two sinks. “It wasn’t a very big building, and the storage area that the lifeguards used as their office and break room, as well as equipment storage, was really small,” Santos said. “And within that we also had our sewer ejector pump that was below grade. So it was a pretty grim and ugly space they were working in. With the original building put in in the mid to late ’60s, it was time for a major overhaul.”
In addition to improving accessibility and ensuring the beach had the restroom, storage and staff facilities needed, significant erosion issues made the renovation necessary. “We wanted to ensure we had the best possible erosion mitigation strategies in place, because we’d seen that our beachfront had been eroding away into the lake,” Santos said. The beachfront abuts the spillway of the reservoir, he explained, and because the beach had been eroding into the lake, the spillway sometimes had to be cleaned out with heavy machinery.
The town retained Weston & Sampson to provide design and permitting services. Ultimately, after a cost analysis, the town selected a prefabricated restroom solution from CXT Inc. for the site’s buildings. “We estimated that our cost savings would be anywhere up from $250,000 or more when the initial assessment was done,” Santos said.
Now, there are two buildings on the site. “One is restrooms only,” Santos said, a 30-by-30-foot building with two family single-user rooms, as well as multi-user women’s and men’s rooms. “The second building looks very similar to the bathroom building, but the internal layout is different.” It features a break room and locker room for lifeguards, an area for storage and utilities, and a concession area.
Santos lauded the ease of installation of the prefabricated buildings. The foundation was poured in place and utilities stubbed up, and a crane operator was able to set the prefabricated building sections on the foundation. “CXT staff then go ahead and sandwich the sections together and make them all into a solid structure,” he said. “By the time the building was installed on the foundation, other than the final connections for utilities, we had a fully operational concession, bathroom and storage building to meet our needs.”
The building has been well received, Santos added. “We’ve seen families who used to go to the beach when their children were younger return to the beach with their kids’ kids,” he said. “The parking lot was redone, and now we have ADA access all the way down to the water.
“The bathrooms have been a big hit. The interior is painted white, and vandal-proof windows allow natural light to come into the rooms,” Santos said. “That’s helpful in making the bathrooms feel more spacious, bright and clean. The lighting CXT uses is all LED, so the fixtures also help brighten up the area, and everything was clean, installed well and met all the requirements they needed to meet here.”
For those considering similar projects, Santos advises doing your homework. “There are some limitations,” he said. “CXT has the means to do this almost anywhere, but site access is extremely important for anybody looking to have them install a building.” RM
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Town of Hudson Recreation: www.townofhudson.org/division-recreation
Weston & Sampson: www.westonandsampson.com