Riverview School Gym Rendering

A rendering of the proposed new gym at the Riverview School

Plans to build a wellness center on the Route 6A campus of the Riverview School have been approved by the Historic District Committee.

The school went before the committee on Wednesday, January 8 to present the project.

The design presented to the board has been updated since it was previously shown in June 2019. The board had unanimously approved the plans at that time, as well.

Architect Jennifer Hocherman, of SV Design in Beverly, said the redesign of the building was 18 inches shorter than the original so that it would meet the town’s 35-foot height limitation. The new design also features additional windows and trim.

Ms. Hocherman said the additions “create more interest on the street side.”

While the board had approved plans for the building, they applauded the redesign. Members of the board believe that the new design makes the building look less institutional.

“It makes it look more interesting and visually smaller,” said board member Ross Vander Pyl. “It’s much more approachable.”

The facility is slated to be a 29,000-square-foot building on the school’s 551 Route 6A campus and will replace the existing gymnasium.

The facility will allow the school to provide students with a more robust wellness curriculum, changing the way that physical and mental health is taught. Students will have access to lessons on physical fitness, mindfullness and nutrition.

Riverview’s strategic marketing manager, Margot Cahoon, said the school had noticed that students were struggling to maintain healthy habits after leaving school and they intend for the new curriculum to help with teaching lifelong skills.

Riverview is a private school for students, ages 11 to 21 years, who have learning disabilities. There are day programs as well as boarding programs offered.

The school raised $12 million last year to help fund the project and hopes to open the facility next fall.

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