Got Questions?


Bring them to us! This week’s outreach sessions…:

  • Tuesday, November 13th, 8:00am, Hartwell Multipurpose Room
  • Wednesday, November 14th, 9:00am, deCordova Café
  • Thursday, November 15th, 11:00am, The Commons

And other meetings…

  • Wednesday, November 14, 7:00pm, SBC Meeting, Hartwell Multipurpose Room
  • Thursday, November 15th, 7:00pm, Multi Board Meeting, Pod B

And on Saturday, December 1st!…

  • 8:00am, check in begins for the Special Town Meeting!
    • Please arrive early to get checked in.
    • Both the Auditorium and the Reed Gym will be open – check in for everyone is outside the Auditorium.
  • 9:00am, meeting begins (promptly!)
  • Babysitting available!
    • LEAP is providing care for children ages 5+. Email leap0615@gmail.com for more information.
    • The Lincoln Family Association is offering a parent/child drop-in space for the under 5 set. Email lincfam2005@yahoo.com for more information.

 

(Funding) Plans…(Building) Plans…(Voting) Plans…

What is the funding plan?

The Lincoln Finance Committee met on Monday, November 5th and voted unanimously to recommend the following plan for funding the $93.9M Lincoln School project:

  • $4.4M from Stabilization Funds (existing funds)
  • $1.0M from Free Cash (existing funds)
  • $88.5 BOND (new borrowed funds)

This is the funding mix the Town will vote on.

The Finance Committee also voted unanimously to release the following statement:

“On June 9th the town decisively supported a school project that embodied educational values and sustainability through a renovated school project. We believe:

    1. The SBC has faithfully executed on this charge designing a project staying within the $93.9mil budget,
    2. The town can finance it and should be able to maintain our AAA bond rating,

and thus FinCom supports this project.”

How will this impact our property taxes?

What are the updates to the building plans?

At the November 1st workshops and through subsequent outreach, the community was asked to weigh in on “flat roofs” vs “sloped roofs” for the center section of the building. Thank you to everyone who offered their opinion!

The feedback from those who weighed in showed a strong preference for sloped roofs (~80% vs 20%). At Wednesday’s meeting, the SBC considered both options, and voted to direct the design team to further refine the sloped roof design. If the project is approved, there will be further work to determine optimal design details.

What are your voting plans?

Saturday, December 1st: Special Town Meeting, 9:00am

  • Both the Auditorium and the Reed/Brooks Gym will be available for voters.
  • Eligible voters must check in outside the Auditorium.
  • You must be present to vote at the Town Meeting.
  • A 2/3 majority is required to authorize the funding and to proceed with the project.

Monday, December 3rd: Ballot Vote, 7:30am – 8:00pm

  • Voting is in the Smith Gym.
  • You may vote an absentee ballot in person at the Town Clerk’s office starting on Friday, November 9th.
  • Requests for absentee ballots must be made before 5:00pm on November 30th.
  • Applications for absentee ballots may be made by a family member, BUT Massachusetts law does not permit any person to obtain or deliver an absentee ballot for another individual.
  • Absentee ballots being returned by mail from the United States must be received by the Town Clerk by the close of the polls (8pm) on December 3rd.
  • To request a ballot or to get more information visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleabsentee/absidx.htm

Outreach  Events

  • TOMORROW (Friday) – 8:30am in the Lincoln Woods community room
  • TOMORROW (Friday) – 1:00pm in Bemis Hall
  • SATURDAY, 11/10 – 1:00pm, Lincoln Library
  • TUESDAY, 11/13 – 8:00am, Hartwell Multipurpose Room
  • WEDNESDAY, 11/14 – 9:00am, deCordova Café
  • THURSDAY, 11/15 – 11:00am, The Commons
  • THURSDAY, 11/15 – 7:00am, Multiboard Meeting, Pod B

Did you weigh in?…

…there’s still time!

At the November 1st Community Workshops, participants were asked to give their opinions about the look of the new central entrance & commons areas of the school.  So far, 79% of those who gave us feedback at the workshops or online have said they prefer the sloped roof design. What is your opinion? We’re still accepting feedback, so take a look at the sloped vs flat images and let us know what you think! The SBC will be discussing the two options at this week’s meeting: Wednesday, November 7th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

Green Energy Committee Presentation

At the November 1st workshops, the Green Energy Committee talked about the sustainability aspects of the project that would make it a leader in public school renovation projects. Click here to see their slides.

Community Outreach

If you weren’t able to get to one of the workshops, swing by one of the SBC outreach events this week:

  • Friday, November 9th, 8:30am – Lincoln Woods Community Room
  • Friday, November 9th, 1:00pm – Bemis Hall
  • Saturday, November 10th, 1:00pm – Lincoln Library

Financial & Capital Planning

  • Monday, November 5th, 7:30pm, Donaldson Room – The Finance Committee will be meeting to discuss the financing structure for the project. Click here to see the slides the Finance Committee presented at the State of the Town on October 20th. 
  • Thursday, November 8th, 7:30pm, Town Offices – The Capital Planning Committee has the project on their agenda.

Coming Soon! 

The SBC is collecting a new set of FAQs and will address them in upcoming posts! If you’d like to check out our current collections of FAQs, visit the FAQs home page. 

Sloped Roofs vs. Flat Roofs – Which do you prefer?

If you weren’t at this morning’s Community Workshop, you have another chance to weigh in on the look of the Lincoln School:

TONIGHT (Thursday), 7:00pm, REED/BROOKS GYM!  This is the fun part – come join us! 

There are 2 options for the new heart of the building: a sloped roof OR a flat roof.

Which do you prefer?

                              OR…

P.S. We’d love to see you in person so you can be part of the conversation, BUT, if you really can’t make it, give us your opinion by clicking on “comment” at the bottom of the post.)

Of Massing Studies, Elevations, and Façades…

…Whether or not you are well-versed in architectural vocabulary, you probably have an opinion about how buildings look.  Here is your opportunity to weigh in on the Lincoln School project! The SBC spent significant time talking about the floor plan for the new “heart” of the school, now it’s time to make a decision about what it will look like in 3D. Come help us! Provide your input at one (or both!) of the Community Workshops on Thursday, November 1st (8am AND 7pm). The SBC reviewed several options at its October 24th meeting.

  • At the Workshops, we will take a look at the front (main entrance and commons) and the back (3rd grade wing and media center) of the building.
  • Our design team will present a couple choices based on the SBC’s guidance and will ask for your feedback.
  • See you in the Reed/Brooks Gym!

What’s in the Project? During the recent “value-engineering” process, the SBC considered the cost/value of about 100 items as it made decisions about how best to use the $93.9M budget to meet Lincoln’s core values. The SBC strived to make thoughtful decisions that would protect the integrity of the Lincoln School project, which will be transformational!

  • Centering the School: The life of the school will be focused on the center of the building – the co-location of the media center (library), flexible learning space, and dining and kitchen facilities will allow students and faculty to come together, interact, and collaborate in new ways.
  • Fostering Collaboration: In grades 3 – 8, classrooms are grouped in neighborhoods centered on shared learning spaces (“hubs”). The hubs support an educational model focused on flexible groupings, differentiated instruction, and fostering age-appropriate independent learning.
  • Connection to the Campus: Students currently eat in gyms with no views to the outdoors. In contrast, the new dining commons will open out to the center field. The media center and the learning commons will both have views out to the woods and fields to the west of the school.
  • Sustainability: The school will switch from natural gas to an electric climate control system – paired with solar energy generation, the goal is a Net Zero building; new insulation and windows; and lower-maintenance, sustainable materials.
  • Safety and Accessibility: Improved pathways for pedestrians and cyclists; better site lighting; secure and accessible entryways; connection and integration of the Reed Gym with the Auditorium and the rest of the building.
  • A Community Resource: The new center of the school, flexible-use spaces, and the refurbished Auditorium and gyms will enhance the school as a community resource during non-school hours.

November Outreach Events – All Events Open to Everyone!

Meetings of Interest:

  • Finance Committee: November 5th, 7:30pm, Donaldson Room
  • SBC Regular Meeting: November 7th, 7:00pm, Hartwell

Who picked this budget?…and other cost questions…

Cost FAQs: There are a number of interrelated questions that come up about the cost of the project and how we expect to stay on budget. Some variations include: Why is the budget $93.9M? Why didn’t we choose a budget and then do as much as we could for it? Home renovation projects always cost more than expected – will that happen to the school project?

Budget: Since we started talking about a school project a decade ago, there have been questions about why we started with a range of budget choices instead of one budget amount.

  • In 2009, we did this because we were working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and that is how their process works. The MSBA asks districts to identify all their needs/project goals and to then develop a range of solutions that meet different ranges of those needs. They expect to see the lowest-cost, most basic project at one end of the spectrum, and a “start from scratch and build it new” project at the other. Towns then choose a solution based on their own set of cost/value criteria.
  • The current SBC is using the same process. Why? First, it would have been hard to choose a single budget without understanding whether or not it would meet our infrastructure and educational needs. Second, each of us probably had a different number in our heads when we thought about what the “right” budget number was. That is why we had a Special Town Meeting on June 9th– the SBC provided a set of projects that each met a different range of needs at different budget levels, and asked the Town to collectively choose a budget (with a defined set of project objectives) to bring to a bonding vote in December.  Together we chose the $93.9M budget that would achieve our stated educational, sustainability, and basic infrastructure goals.
  • Using this method not only sets the budget but sets the expectations for what we get for that budget. This leads to the FAQ about cost containment.

Cost Containment: What keeps this budget from going over $93.9M? There are several factors:

  • The only way money gets spent is if the Town votes to make it happen. There is no way to get extra money for the project unless it is approved at a Town Meeting.
  • The Town expects the SBC to stay on budget, and the SBC takes that charge very seriously. There will be 2-3 additional rounds of cost estimates and, if needed, value-engineering.
  • We are still in the Schematic Design phase, and there are a number of contingencies built into the budget. The estimate includes contingencies to address the potential escalation of costs over time, and to address the fact that there is still significant “Design Development” work to do (after December 3rd).
  • Construction Manager at Risk (CMR): This is a common construction method in which a construction manager is brought on to the project as soon as funding is approved.  The SBC just voted to recommend a CMR firm to the School Committee. There are a number of advantages to this process versus the traditional “design, bid, build” construction method:
    • The quality of construction firms bidding on projects under the CMR scenario is higher.
    • We get to meet the actual team of people who will be working on the project.
    • The CMR takes some responsibility for the budget process as soon as they are involved.
    • They work with us through design development to optimize the construction process, phasing, needed studies, etc.
    • The overall process of implementing site logistics and safety is better with a partner who is in on the design process.
    • This is a complex renovation project, and it will help contain cost to have a construction manager overseeing and managing the details to make sure the project is meeting our expectations.
  • The budget-setting process described above. When we voted for the $93.9M budget, it came with a defined set of objectives and components – in a broad sense, we knew what we would get for that budget. The SBC’s job, with the support of relevant Town committees, is to make sure that as the details are developed, we make responsible decisions to ensure we stay on track.

SOTT Recap

Now that we are in the home stretch, you will be hearing from the Outreach Team a bit more frequently – we thank you for understanding!

State of the Town Update
At Saturday’s State of the Town, the SBC gave an update on the Lincoln School project’s progress since June. Here are the highlights (see the slides, including information from the Finance Committee, here):

  • The SBC has focused on 6 major components of the project:
    • Classroom neighborhoods centered on “hub” spaces for grades 3 – 8.
    • The central “heart” of the school: flexible learning commons, media center (library), central dining commons, kitchen, and a central entrance.
    • Sustainability and systems: energy generation (photovoltaic panels), heating/cooling, insulation, safety & security, electrical, and plumbing systems.
    • Exterior architecture.
    • Site plans: roads, walking and bike paths, and recreational spaces.
    • Phasing: where do students go during renovation?
  • Cost: For the past 3 weeks, the SBC has concentrated on a “value-engineering” process to keep the project on budget. What does that mean? Where are we now?
    • June 9th: The budget we chose as a Town was $93.9M.
    • September 26th: The SBC got estimates from 2 independent cost estimators. The draft estimates were $102M and $109M.
    • September 28th: The two estimators reconciled their estimates to $104M.
    • October 3rd: SBC’s task? Reduce the project by $10M!
      • SMMA presented about 100 items to consider cutting or reducing.
    • October 3rd – October 17th: The SBC closed the gap and brought the project back to budget! How? Most of the gap was closed by scaling back site work, negotiating for a better price on temporary classrooms, and choosing to pursue a Power Purchase Agreement to install photovoltaic panels instead of incurring this as a capital cost. NOTE: Value-engineering is not just about cutting cost, but about making trade-offs that maintain the long-term value of the project. For example, the SBC chose to add in a better heating/cooling system and accepted a small budget increase to enable us to move forward with the tweak to the design that provided a better floor plan for the central part of the school.

Next SBC Meeting: Wednesday, October 24th, 7pm, Hartwell

 

Putting the Pieces Together – This Week is “All School All the Time”!

We’ve talked a lot about the complexity of the Lincoln School project – this week multiple Town boards and committees have the project on their agendas. Each will dive into the details as seen through the lens of their committee’s charge.  On Thursday, many boards will meet together to try to understand how all the pieces of the project are fitting into place. Please join us – All the meetings are open to the public! Find more information at www.lincolntown.org and www.lincolnsbc.org    

Monday, October 15th:

  • Board of Selectmen, 6:30pm, Donaldson Room, Town Offices
  • Parks & Recreation (PRD) Committee, 7:00pm, Hartwell PodA, Ballfield Road
  • Capital Planning Committee, 7:30pm, Selectmen’s Office, Town Offices

Tuesday, October 16th:

  • Finance Committee, 7:30pm, Donaldson room, Town Offices
    • Cash flow estimates and bond strategies
    • Solar arrays for the school: capital expenditure vs. power purchase agreement
    • Use of stabilization funds

Wednesday, October 17th: 

  • School Building Committee, 7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room, Ballfield Road
    • Continue value-engineering process
    • Prepare for October 20th State of the Town

Thursday, October 18th:

  • MULTI BOARD MEETING, 7:00pm, Hartwell PodB, Ballfield Road.
  • On the Agenda:
    • Update on the project’s scope of work and cost estimates.
    • Finance Committee update
    • Other funding sources? Grants? Green energy credits or rebates?
    • Develop a list of questions that need to be answered by boards/committees before December 1st – assign questions to the relevant committee

FridayNO MEETINGS! 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20th: 

  • SPECIAL TOWN MEETING & STATE OF THE TOWN!
  • 9:00am – 12:30pm, Auditorium

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Engaging with Our Neighbors

  • December 1stSpecial Town Meeting
  • December 3rdBallot Vote

The votes to fund the school project are fast approaching! Do you and your friends and neighbors want to learn more? Would you be willing to host an information session? 

The SBC wants to come to your neighborhood to share information and answer questions about the project! If you’re willing to gather some friends and neighbors in your home for an hour or so in November, members of the SBC will run an informal conversation about the project. To schedule a time, please contact Kim Bodnar at kimbodnar1007@gmail.com.

Inspiring Future Architects…

A Lincoln School student sat in on a recent SBC meeting.  How did he spend his time? He drew his ideal floor plan while listening to the discussion about the central dining and learning commons! We thank him for his willingness to share his drawing – click here to see it!

Value Engineering – Part 1

Cost Estimate Overview
On September 26th, the SBC received the draft preliminary cost estimates from two independent estimators: The two total project cost estimates came in at $102M and $109M, well above our target budget of $93.9M. After that meeting, the estimators, our design team, and our Owner’s Project Manager met to reconcile the two draft estimates to ensure they were comparing the same scope, materials, and quantities. This past Wednesday, the SBC presentation outlined the reconciled, detailed cost estimates: one went up and one came down, and each estimate is currently about $104M. This is better, but we still have our work “cut out” to remove, scale back and/or trade off items to fit within our budget.

The chart below shows the total project budget broken down into 7 broad categories. As you can see, the building renovation/additions costs came in as expected. There were two big categories that account for most of the delta between the current cost estimates and the conceptual cost estimates we saw in June: Site work and temporary classrooms.

“Curb Appeal”
In that same meeting, our project team presented a list of possible items (link here) that could be eliminated or scaled back. While the SBC made some progress removing items, the real work (and dollars) requires understanding tradeoffs that can’t be resolved in just one night, and understanding how eliminating up-front cost impacts long-term value. Here are some examples:

  • Defer vs. Replace: If we defer replacing the Reed Gym roof (which is about 9 years old), will that existing roof support the planned solar equipment? And is the existing roof currently insulated well enough to meet our overall energy goals
  • Temporary Modular Classroom Units – Unlike all of our neighboring towns, we don’t have several different school & municipal buildings to accommodate temporary arrangements. We need approximately 30 classrooms for students during the two construction phases, and those units must meet all current code and safety requirements (ADA access, sprinkler systems, etc.)
  • Site Work: Some site costs are driven by the constraints of our situation, such as the need to restore playing fields after housing modular classrooms for three years. Other items are savings vs. value decisions that we need to figure out. Do we want less expensive “cape cod berms”, asphalt-formed curbs that wear out over time? Or, do we prefer more expensive granite curbs that last virtually forever after many, many snow plow scrapes?

 

 

 

 

All Hands on Deck!
Residents should know that it is not just the SBC that is engaged in the Lincoln School project. The Schools and the Town are in continuous communication, and the Town administration is supporting the project in a number of ways. At the October 3rd meeting, Tim Higgins, Town Administrator, assured the SBC that the Schools and the Town are each doing their part, and gave an overview of how the Town has been planning for this project:

  • Alternative Funding Possibilities: The Town is researching a number sources of funding that could help with pieces of the project such as Community Preservation Act funds for outdoor recreational facilities, Chapter 90 state roadway funds, “Complete Streets” state grants, and the Cable TV Revolving Fund.
  • Sustainability: The Town is assisting with analysis of our photovoltaic panel options, and engaged a solar consultant who is doing an analysis of our purchasing and leasing options. It has also enlisted our state legislators to assist with research. Finally, there is a town by-law that was put in place that limits 3rd party power purchasing agreements (PPAs). The Planning Board is working on drafting an amendment that would allow municipal PPAs.
  • Financial Planning: The Town’s Finance Committee and Financial Director have been working to ensure we are ready to go to the bond market. Over the past decade, the Town worked to achieve and maintain a AAA rating.