SOTT Feedback…Next Steps

You Like: hubs; dining commons; maker spaces; natural light; a mix of one and two-story spaces; good light and solar orientation; outdoor learning spaces; considering renovation as part of the solution.
You Wish: for environmentally sustainable solutions; to consider renovation options; to understand the costs of different project concepts.
You Wonder: about the pros & cons of renovation vs. new construction; about fields, traffic, pathways; and a range of other important topics!
Many excellent questions and ideas arose out of the feedback from State of the Town. Also, thank you to everyone who looked at the educational program concepts on the website and completed the Survey Monkey feedback form. Click “sticky note comments” and “I like, I wish, I wonder” to read compilations of the community’s input.
So what’s next? The School Building Committee shares the community’s desire and need to understand more about possible renovation solutions and about the relative costs of different approaches. State of the Town was a “big picture” opportunity to look at possible configurations for the educational program, and to get feedback from the Town about different locations of the Lincoln School on the campus. Now it is time to think about the project from the ground up.
Here’s how the SBC will focus its work over the next couple of months:
  • We will be working to understand the differences between the cost of primarily new construction vs. renovation. Given the various ages and conditions of different sections of the Lincoln School, renovation may be a good value in some areas and not in others. Click here to see a draft of SMMA’s “Existing Conditions Report.”
  • We are currently working on a baseline renovation project estimate and on a refined understanding of what such a project would need to include. It is important to note that the Lincoln School is one, roughly 140,000 sq. ft. building (despite our references to the Smith and Brooks Schools), and that all of it will need to be brought up to current life/safety, accessibility, systems, and building codes. As we were reminded at the November 15th SBC meeting, construction costs have, for a number of reasons, escalated at a rapid rate since 2012. If you are interested in seeing the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s latest data, visit
  • We will think about concepts that combine different ratios of renovation and new construction.
  • The SBC will evaluate project concepts on criteria that include educational value, environmental sustainability, impact on campus infrastructure (fields, roads, parking), up-front cost, and long-term value.
Save the Date: The next Community Workshop will be on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. A wide range of concepts, that include cost estimates, will be presented in detail. The SBC will need your input and guidance to evaluate which concepts are viable options for further development!
Remember—all SBC meetings are open to the public, and we want your engagement! The next SBC meeting is on Wednesday, November 29th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

Show Us the Vision!

State of the Town
Group A, Option 2

At State of the Town you will get to see 6 exciting concepts for the Lincoln School! There will be a lot of information to absorb, and we will be asking for your initial thoughts and questions. So, we wanted to give you some time to look at the drawings and read the directions for the feedback activity. We look forward to seeing you at 9am on Saturday!
There will be 2 feedback activities at State of the Town: One focused on the Lincoln School, and one focused on the Community Center. These activities are important for both committees — they are intended to spark our imaginations, let us engage in creative thinking, and help our design teams better understand our community. The exercises will focus on site placement, building shape, and aesthetic preferences. They will not focus on square footage, cost estimates, or site elements (fields, parking, roads).
Goal for the Exercise:  Collect community members’ immediate “gut” reactions (positive and negative) to 6 possible shapes and locations for the Lincoln School.  This is not a vote — nothing is eliminated today, but ideas can be added!

State of the Town
Group B, Option 2

These are ideas for a mostly-new, or all-new building. This is intentional for today’s exercise.
The community has identified “support for educational vision” and “sustainability” as two core values.
The School Building Committee challenged the design team (SMMA/EwingCole) to think creatively and generate ideas for a building that fully embodies our vision for education and is true to our community.
Background & Context:
  • The Town has documented the needs of the Lincoln School building.
  • There is a well-articulated educational vision for our schools.
  • Project Focus:  A safe, comfortable, accessible building that supports and enhances education for our students, is a resource for the community, and is fiscally responsible.
  • The concepts are shown with the current site structure (i.e. no changes to roads, parking, etc.) Moving forward, concepts will be evaluated on how they maintain/improve the athletic fields, traffic flow, etc.
  • As you look/listen, consider the following:
    • What do you think about how the building sits on the site?
    • What do you think about the location of the “common spaces” (gyms, auditorium, kitchen, dining)?
    • Do you see different sized areas for small groups, large groups, collaboration, and projects (terms used may include “commons, hubs, and neighborhoods”)
    • Does the design provide good spaces for community and public use?
    • How do students move through the building? How close/far are the shared spaces?
    • How do you feel about a new/mostly-new building? What else would you like the SBC to explore?

State of the Town
Group C, Option 2

  • As you look at the drawings and/or listen to the presentation, use the feedback sheet to jot down your initial thoughts:
    • What have you seen or heard that you like? What sparked your interest?
    • What do you wish you had seen? or wish we could develop further?
    • What do you wonder about? What else should be considered? What questions need to be answered?
  • During the feedback session, visit the drawings posted on the Auditorium walls, ask the architects or SBC members questions, and write some more notes.
  • Hand in your feedback sheet — SBC members will collect them, or you can put them in the box at the back!
After State of the Town we will post an electronic version of the feedback sheet that you can fill out on
Thank you for being part of the process!


Raising the Curtain…

This is it!  The moment we’ve all been waiting for!  November 4th is your opportunity to see and weigh in on some initial design concepts for the Lincoln School.

First, what is State of the Town? 

SOTT is an annual opportunity for Lincoln residents to ask questions about the work of Town boards and committees, and to raise topics and ideas that they would like to see addressed. It gives Town boards and committees the chance to provide updates on projects and policies, and to preview decisions residents will be asked to make at the Annual Town Meeting in March. (This year it’s on March 24th — SAVE THE DATE!) 

Why attend?

  • Since May: The SBC and the design team have gathered a lot of information!
    • 18 School Building Committee meetings
    • 13 Outreach Committee meetings; 1 Community Survey (360 responses!); 4th of July Parade
    • 4 Community Workshops; 14 hours at the Transfer Station and Soccer; 2 Curriculum Night presentations
    • 5 Campus Coordination Group meetings
    • 2 days of work with faculty and administrators; 3 workshops with students
    • Tours of 5 area schools
    • Based on this work and your input, SMMA/EwingCole are ready to unveil their initial design concepts.
  • This is just the start of the design process, but your feedback now will start to shape the project.
  • From 9:00 – 10:30, SOTT will be focused on the Lincoln School AND Community Center projects.
    • From 10:30 – 11:40 a number of other Town topics are on the agenda.
    • Please stick around – If we don’t get to your questions before 10:30, there is more time to talk about the campus projects during “Open Forum” from 11:40am – 12:30pm.

What You’ll Hear from Us:

  • Brief overviews from the School Building and Community Center committees.
  • Lincoln School, Town, Council on Aging, and Parks & Recreation administrators have been exploring the challenges and opportunities for shared spaces and programming – You’ll learn about their findings.
  • The Finance Committee will provide high-level financial context for the projects.
  • SMMA, Lincoln School designer, will introduce a range of initial concepts that explore building size, shape, and location of the Lincoln School
  • Maryann Thompson, Community Center designer, will present a series of photographs to start the conversation about aesthetic preferences.

What We Need from YOU:

  • Show up!
  • Participate in two feedback exercises:
    1. Weigh in on the Lincoln School design concepts.
    2. Provide input about design elements you think reflect Town values and are appropriate for the campus.

Later this Week:

This will be a lot of information to absorb in 90 minutes! – On Thursday we will send out the directions for the feedback exercises. We also hope to post images of the Lincoln School design concepts so that you can formulate your thoughts and questions.

Click here for the complete State of the Town Agenda!

See you on Saturday!

Are we there yet?

We get it…we feel and share the collective energy…you want to see drawings…you wonder why we’re still gathering information…you now have a six inch pile of handouts with your doodled sketches of buildings from all the workshops you’ve attended over the past 10 years (and you’re not even an architect!)

We are also mindful of the old expression, “measure twice and cut once.”  The information-gathering phase in which the SBC and design team have been engaged is essential to our comfort that we’ve been as thoughtful, creative, and comprehensive in our approach to the Lincoln School building project as possible.  In addition, the recent hiring of a design team for the Community Center project makes it important to ensure there is time to build collaboration and for everyone to be brought up to speed.

So when will we see some drawings?  Soon.  If August through October has been about collecting data and understanding priorities, then the next 2 – 3 months will be about “visual brainstorming.” This is when SMMA/EwingCole will translate our educational vision, community priorities, and the current conditions in the building into a wide range of renovation and/or new construction possibilities.  We will need the community every step of the way!  This is the phase that fell short in 2012.  If the SBC, designers, and the community are not all engaged in the decision-making, we risk moving in a direction not ultimately supported by the Town.  To help us launch into the next phase, please come to the State of the Town meeting from 9am – 12:30pm on November 4th!

What have we learned? 

  • Town Collaboration: The SBC and Community Center committee heard presentations from 8 Town boards about how the work of those boards shapes the priorities for both campus projects. Over the course of two meetings, the SBC hosted presentations from the Conservation Commission, the Disabilities Commission, the Green Energy Committee, the Historical Commission, Parks & Recreation, Planning Board, Public Safety, and the Water Commission. Click here for a recap of the presentations.
  • Lessons from the Hanscom Middle School: With the opening of HMS last spring, we’ve been able to see how design influences education. Watch the complete HMS Faculty Interviews video (or a specific clip) that talks about the building, student engagement, teacher collaboration, and a few things they’d do differently. 
  • Community Workshops:  The 1st Community Workshop, focused on possible campus layouts, was on October 3rd.  Missed it? Here’s the video of the evening workshop. The second Workshop on October 17th focused on educational vision and sustainability — two topics that were listed as top priorities by respondents to the SBC survey conducted this past summer. 
  • Faculty Input:  Educational planners from EwingCole and SMMA joined Superintendent Becky McFall in facilitating two faculty discussions about educational vision and the specific spaces that are required to support the program.  Highlights of the faculty input were in last week’s blog post, How Spaces Impact Learning.
  • Student Input: Students were given the opportunity to brainstorm about what they’d like to see in a Lincoln School project. Click on the image to see a slide show of some of their ideas.

How Spaces Impact Learning


Click here to learn more about the Strategic Plan

  • Provide high quality education.
  • Create an engaging and inspiring approach to learning.
  • Encourage interactive, multi-disciplinary, project-based learning modes; foster curiosity.
  • Value diversity; display creativity.
  • Provide a variety of learning spaces.
  • Value reflection.
  • Optimize connection to the natural environment. 
  • Host community events and promote partnerships with the community.

These are some of the priorities articulated by our educators during a day-long session facilitated by our design team from SMMA and EwingCole. The Lincoln Schools have clearly defined priorities, our faculty and administrators are engaged in dynamic conversations about education, and the question the School Building Committee is trying to answer is:  How will the building support our vision of education?

Here’s what’s happening to move the process forward this week:

  • Tuesday, October 17th: Please join us for one (or both!) of the Community Workshops focused on how physical space impacts teachers and students.
    • What:  How does our current building impede our educators? If a new building is built, or significant renovations made, how will it affect what is taught and how it is taught? How do we know our new/renovated building will meet the needs of the next generations of Lincoln students?
    • When:  8:00 – 10:00am AND/OR 7:00pm – 9:00pm
    • Where:  Brooks Gym
  • Student Input Sessions: Also on Tuesday, members of the design team will meet with groups from the 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades to talk about what they like about the Lincoln School building, see examples of other schools, and discuss what they’d like to see in a new/renovated school.

Setting the Context: Phrases such as “21st century learning,” “project-based learning,” and “maker spaces” are used a lot. What do they mean? Here are a series of short videos and links that make them real. Enjoy — and please bring your questions and ideas to one of the workshops on the 17th!

We Want to Hear from YOU! We invite you to give us feedback about our blog posts, or ask us questions about the process. You can make a public comment by clicking on the “comment” button at the bottom of the post, or you can send a message directly to the SBC by clicking on “Contact the SBC” on the home page menu. Thank you!

Video: Changing the Subject
Video: “Student Engagement: How the Maker Movement Connects Students to Engineering and Tech”
Blog: “Designing a School Makerspace”
Video: “Engaging Students in Work that Matters”
Video: “An Unfamiliar Revolution in Learning/Mission Hill K-8”
Video: “The 4 C’s: Making 21st Century Education Happen”

Breaking News! Homeowner Hires Designer, Asks Neighbor to Oversee Project

Image & labels from Google Earth

What if you decided to redo your kitchen, hired a respected designer, and then asked a trusted neighbor to oversee the design and construction process? With a good professional and a tasteful neighbor, it might be fine, but would it really turn out the way you wanted?

We have a great design team, and we hope you consider the members of the School Building Committee to be “trusted neighbors.” At the same time, you are the “homeowners,” and we need your input and guidance in order to get this right.

So, PLEASE join us on October 3rd for one of the Community Workshop sessions. These workshops will focus on the layout of the Ballfield campus, and will generate critical information for both the school and community center study committees.

You might be thinking, “What do I know about campus layout?” We are all users of the campus, and we all have ideas and opinions about where the metaphorical appliances should go!

Here’s how to get ready for the workshop:

  • If you’re a parent: What do you think works/doesn’t work in the school building and on the campus? What do you think about the layout of the school? Is the parking in the right places? How well do pick-up and drop-off patterns work? What is it like to walk/bike/drive around campus? Are there enough playing fields? Where should the after school program and community facilities be?
  • If you’re a community member: What works/doesn’t work when you come to vote? Or for Town Meeting? Is there enough parking? Is it easy to access the roads and pathways? Which parts of the school, fields, recreation spaces do you use?
  • New to Town? Think you don’t know enough to contribute? Bring your experiences from other towns and schools, and help us consider different solutions!
  • For ALL: Get ready to ponder provocative questions: What is the best location for the building(s)? How many stories should the buildings be? What happens to the big trees? How do those decisions impact design, energy efficiency, and recreational options?
  • Bring an open mind and your questions!
Campus Visioning Sessions, Tuesday, October 3rd!
Times:  8:00 – 10:00am and 7:00 – 9:00pm (same content, two sessions)
Location:  Brooks/Reed Gym

Where We’ve Been, What Comes Next

Our “In it to Win” contest ends Friday at noon.  Please forward this to a friend, and ask them to visit to subscribe!

Tour Hanscom Middle School:  October 13th – Open to all residents! Email Janice at by noon on October 6th if interested.

Where We’ve Been:  SBC Field Trips

  • August – SBC members visited the Field

    Bancroft School Library, Andover

    School in Weston.

  • September 13th – Project architects and the SBC took a tour of the Lincoln School and the new Hanscom Middle School.
  • September 22nd – members of the Lincoln School faculty, administration and the SBC toured Bancroft Elementary School in Andover and the Gates Middle School in Scituate.

What Comes Next

  • September 28th – Campus Coordinating Group (CCG), 7:30am, Office of the Superintendent. The members of the CCG are Tim Higgins, Ellen Shorb, Owen Beenhouwer, Becky McFall, Chris Fasciano and Craig Nicholson.  All meetings are open to the public.
  • September 28th – Full day of educational visioning for faculty & administrators.
  • October 3rd – SBC tour of Cambridge’s MLK School, which was built with the goal of being a net zero building and achieving LEED platinum certification.
  • October 4th – next School Building Committee meeting.  7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room. All meetings are open to the public.

Save the Date

  • October 3rd – Community Workshop: Campus Vision
    • Morning Session:  8 – 10 am, Brooks Gym
    • Evening Session 7-9 pm, Brooks Gym
  • October 17th – Community Workshop:  Educational Vision
    • Morning Session:  8 – 10 am, Brooks Gym
    • Evening Session 7-9 pm, Brooks Gym
  • November 4th – State of the Town, 9 am, Brooks Auditorium

Campus Visioning Workshop #1


Campus Visioning Workshop #1:  October 3rd!

Morning Session: 8:00am – 10:00am

Evening Session: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Both sessions in the Brooks/Reed Gym!

WHO? EVERYONE! – parents and community members of all agesPlease join the School Building Committee, SMMA Architects, and the Community Center Planning & Preliminary Design Committee for one (or both!) of the Campus Visioning Workshop sessions.

WHAT? Developing a Shared Campus Vision

  • The workshops will build on prior studies of the Ballfield campus by the Campus Master Planning Committee (CMPC), the School Building Advisory Committee (SBAC), and the Community Center Study Committee (CCSC).
  • Using what we know about the possible building zones on campus, develop different options for campus layout.
  • The workshops will:
    • Give a summary of prior work and of the site’s constraints.
    • Provide a chance to take “virtual tours” of other schools.
    • Be a hands-on opportunity to experiment with different ways the campus can support the K-8 school, pre-K programs, community use spaces, outdoor recreational spaces, after school programs, school support facilities and storage, the Parks & Recreation Department, and the Council on Aging.
    • Lead to multiple campus plans.

WHY? Your participation will directly influence SMMA’s designs!

  • A later workshop will ask the community to rank the different plans.
  • Determining the campus layout is essential for planning the Lincoln School project AND the possible Community Center project.
  • This is our opportunity for creative thinking about provocative questions:
    • Could the school be more than one story?
    • Where can we build on the site? Where do we want to build?
    • How does the school design impact possible community center designs?
    • Can we fit another playing field or other recreational facilities on campus?

We hope to see you!

Community Survey Results

This summer, the School Building Committee (SBC) asked residents to complete a survey entitled “Shaping our Town’s Evaluation Criteria.”  Below are the questions, and a summary of the 364 responses we received:

  • We should maintain the current L shaped footprint of school.
    • 21% strongly agree/agree; 64% neutral; 15% disagree/strongly disagree
  • We should take a “blank slate” approach to the design.
    • 65% strongly agree/agree; 20% neutral; 15% disagree/strongly disagree
  • We should consider all new construction.
    • 59% strongly agree/agree; 21% neutral, 20% disagree/strongly disagree
  • Primary focus of the project is a design that focuses on our educational vision.
    • 83% strongly agree/agree; 12% neutral, 5% disagree/strongly disagree
  • Primary focus of the project is to make repairs and meet code.
    • 34% strongly agree/agree; 16% neutral; 50% disagree/strongly disagree
  • The project should reach high energy efficiency standards.
    • 81% strongly agree/agree; 13% neutral, 6% disagree/strongly disagree
  • Adding additional recreation fields is important.
    • 48% strongly agree/agree; 38% neutral, 14% disagree/strongly disagree
  • Building safety and security are a primary consideration.
    • 66% strongly agree/agree; 26% neutral; 8% disagree/strongly disagree
  • We need to minimize construction time.
    • 39% strongly agree/agree; 42% neutral, 19% disagree/strongly disagree
  • When people were asked to rank the above criteria in order of importance, the most important criteria were: 1) a building that supports the educational vision; 2) energy efficiency; and 3) building safety and security.

Thank you again to everyone who completed the survey!  We’ve heard your feedback.