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Construction Phase

Honoring Our History…(and this week’s meeting is on Tuesday)

Honoring Our History…Building Our Future. This statement has been at the head of every blog post since 2017, but how does it really relate to the project? Since the beginning of the project, the School Building Committee (SBC) has collaborated with about a dozen town boards and departments, and this work has helped to shape a project that serves our educational goals and advances the town’s commitment to sustainability, while reflecting the history of the building and the campus.

One of the SBC’s partners throughout the process has been the Lincoln Historical Commission (LHC).  The LHC is the town board that administers Lincoln’s “Demolition Delay Bylaw” (article XXI of the town’s bylaws) which requires every building project that includes demolition to meet with the LHC to determine 1) whether the structure has historical, architectural, or cultural significance; and if so, 2) whether the structure is “preferably preserved.” The LHC worked with the SBC to understand the architectural significance of the Lincoln School and to think about how to incorporate that history into the renovation.

To mark the transition from the first phase of the project to the second, we invited Andrew Glass, chair of the LHC, to write about the ways the renovated building pays tribute to its innovative history while creating a learning environment that will serve our students for decades to come.

Sunshades on middle school; view towards dining commons.

The Lincoln School:  Smith Building and Brook Building Complexes

Lincoln residents and architects Lawrence B. Anderson (1906-1994) and Henry B. Hoover (1902-1989) made significant contributions to Modern architecture in Lincoln.  Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Anderson, with his firm Anderson & Beckwith, designed several buildings for the Lincoln School campus, including the Smith complex from 1947 through the early 1950s and the Hartwell building in 1957.  Hoover designed more than three dozen Modern houses and municipal buildings in Lincoln, including, in 1937, Lincoln’s first Modern house.  With his firm Hoover & Hill, Hoover also designed several buildings for the Lincoln School campus, including the three Hartwell pods between 1959 and 1964 and the Brooks complex between 1963 and 1964.  

The oldest part of the Lincoln School, the Smith Building complex was one of the earliest school buildings in the nation to incorporate Modern design principles. Architectural Forum recognized the innovative qualities of the complex in an August 1950 article, which can be found here. As noted by the Architectural Forum, these qualities include:

  • The transparency between the interior and exterior of the building achieved through the use of continuous bands of fenestration (windows); 
  • Careful attention to how daylight enters the building, including through use of a sunshield between the lower and clerestory windows, which served to shade the lower windows from low-angle morning sun and reflect light up to the interior ceiling through the clerestory; 
  • The use of long bar-shaped classroom buildings to create an encompassing gesture around the Center Field; and
  • The use of acoustical tiles to reduce noise reverberation in the classrooms. 

Hoover’s Brooks Building complex built on these Modern design principles.  In creating the auditorium, he used innovative acoustical “clouds” to help direct sound to the back of the theater.  Hoover was a master of integrating the landscape into his designs, which is reflected in the close connection of each classroom to the exterior and in the creation of a courtyard in the Brooks Building complex.

For the current project, architectural firms SMMA and EwingCole are restoring much of the Smith Building complex and all of the Brooks Building complex, working within the Modern design principles developed by Anderson and Hoover.  

  • Drawing on Anderson’s and Hoover’s legacy of the innovative use of technologies, the revitalized Lincoln School will be an all-electric, net zero building. To reduce heat load and solar glare in the classrooms, the design restores the use of sunshields as pioneered by Anderson.  The filtered light will also reduce the need to rely on artificial lighting within classrooms.  
  • Interestingly, because in the 1940s the Town chose to build a more costly gable roof rather than the shed roof proposed by Anderson, the Town opted not to build the dedicated cafeteria and kitchen that Anderson recommended.  The revitalized School has a dedicated cafeteria and kitchen for the first time, the design of which draws on Anderson’s legacy of using continuous bands of fenestration and clerestory windows to create connections to the outdoors and to provide abundant natural daylight within the building.  
  • Replacing the oldest portion of the Smith Building complex, the design for the new main entrance and Learning Commons also honors Anderson’s Modern design principles using transparent materials and sunshields.
  • Anderson’s gymnasium and Hoover’s classrooms with their innovative use of wooden beams will be restored for decades more use by students.  
  • Honoring Hoover’s legacy of innovative open-plan interior spaces and close connections to the exterior, the revitalized School contains “hub” learning spaces for grades 3 through 8.  Classrooms are arranged around a central common space promoting a neighborhood feeling among the teachers and students of a grade.  Easily-operable glass partitions between the classrooms and the hub allow teachers and students to create larger or smaller learning spaces to suit the needs of students’ varying learning styles and allow the landscape to be seen well within the interior of the building. 
  • The Dining Commons, Learning Commons, and Media Center will open directly onto outdoor terraces that will serve as outdoor learning spaces and community gathering areas during non-school hours. (Note: The construction of the Learning Commons in phase 2 required the demolition of the oldest Smith building. Click here to see videos showing the building before, during and after demolition!)
  • Finally, the School Project has restored the Auditorium, including the innovative acoustical clouds.  The Town will enjoy many years of comfort at Town Meeting and performances in the newly renovated space!

The LHC appreciates SMMA’s and EwingCole’s sensitive renovation of the Smith and Brooks buildings and the creative incorporation of Modern design principles into the revitalization project. – Andrew Glass

This week’s SBC meeting is being held on Tuesday, September 14th at 7:00pm via Zoom. Agenda and link can be found here.

Glass partitions in hub; view through to the outdoors.

School Tour!

Get ready for photos! On August 12th, SBC members were treated to a tour of the renovated Middle School. Building inspections were completed earlier in the week and faculty will be able to move into their classrooms starting on Monday, August 16th. The map below shows the tour route, and there are photos below that correspond to the numbered circles. More photos can be found in the August gallery. Slide deck from the August 11th SBC meeting can be found here.

SBC Tour Route on 8/12/21

Stop #1: Dining Commons

Stop #2: Kitchen

Stop #3: 5th Grade Hub Space

Stop #4: 7th Grade Neighborhood

Stop #5: 6th Grade Neighborhood

Stop #6: Auditorium

Stop #7: Connection between Auditorium and Reed Gym

Stop #8: Reed Gym

August SBC Meeting

Demolition work – looking east from the Smith playing fields.

The SBC will meet virtually on Wednesday, August 11th at 7:00pm. Agenda and Zoom information can be found here. The new August photo gallery is here.

Why the demolition? The oldest section of the building was demolished to prepare for the construction of the new 3rd grade wing, Learning Commons, and Media Center. The classrooms in the left of the photo will be renovated. The image below shows the floor plan of this section of the building.

Walk this way…

Construction Site Safety: When you visit the campus, you’ll see that the construction site is shifting. At the moment the entire school and both parking lots are work zones.

  • The access to Codman Pool is via the pathway and bridge behind the Hartwell pods. PLEASE use this path, not the parking lot.
  • ONLY the Hartwell parking lot and the lot by the temporary school are available for pool parking.
  • There is NO vehicle access around the top of the loop in front of the school – the road is being rebuilt.
  • BOTH the parking lot by the Reed Gym & the parking lot by the Smith field are closed to public parking.

Project Update: A lot of work is happening simultaneously! A few highlights:

  • A new construction fence has been installed around the elementary school. Excavation work will begin shortly.
  • Start at the end of July, the original 1948 Smith building will be demolished (see photo below) and construction will begin on the new Learning Commons, 3rd grade wing, and Media Center.
  • In the middle school, new hydration stations are being installed, there are new railings in the Lecture Hall (upper half of the Auditorium), white boards are being hung, and many other details are being addressed!
  • In the parking lot near the pool, Sun Power, the company that will be installing all of the photovoltaic (PV) panels on the school, has started doing prep work.
  • More photos can be found in the July gallery.

The project update presented at Wednesday’s meeting can be found here. Next meeting is on Wednesday, August 11th @ 7:00pm via Zoom.

Changes to School Campus as Phase 2 Begins

Message from the Superintendent:

Dear Lincoln Community,

Phase I of the Lincoln School building project is nearing completion!  In August we will open the grade 5-8 portion of the renovated building and prepare for our students and staff to begin school in their new spaces on September 1, 2021.

Please be aware of the changes occurring on the campus as we move into Phase II of the building project.  Through the summer, Brooks and Smith parking lots will not be available to the public.  As Consigli, our construction team, moves their operations from the middle school end of the building to the elementary end of the building there will be a gradual transition of the construction site to the elementary portion of the building and their site will set up in the Smith parking lot.  

The Smith parking lot will be fenced off as of July 6, 2021 and pedestrian access to the fields and Pollinator Garden beyond the Smith parking lot will not be available until the completion of the project in fall 2022.  Pedestrian access to the tennis courts will be available.

Pedestrian access to the Codman pool is through the walking path behind Pod B.  Handicap parking is available in the Brooks lot.  Parking for the Codman pool is in the temporary modular building and Hartwell parking lots.  Please be aware that Lincoln Parks & Recreation camp and school programs are in progress and parking is extremely limited.  We encourage car pooling, walking, and bicycling.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Becky McFall, Superintendent

An End and a Beginning…

Although about 75% of the school project is renovation work, there are a couple of parts that are all-new construction. One is the new connector between the Auditorium and the Reed Gym (image above). The other will be the construction of the new Learning Commons and central entrance (click here to see a rendering). As the first phase of the project winds down, the second phase begins. This week, after school is finished for the year, the original 1948 portion of the school will be demolished to make way for the new section of the building (see the area below circled in red).

Other notable items:

  • Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project will overlap. Throughout the summer the finishing touches will be put on the renovated middle school (Phase 1). It is anticipated that final inspections will be completed by mid-August, and then the teachers will begin moving in and preparing for the 2021-2022 school year!
  • Meanwhile, the middle school teachers have begun packing up their classrooms, and once school lets out on Monday the “Smith” end of the building will be emptied out in preparation for renovation/new construction (Phase 2). Primary school teachers and students will stay in the temporary school next year.
  • The SBC got its monthly project update last Wednesday, and continues to oversee the project costs and progress. Click here for slides from the meeting. June photo gallery is here.
  • The bike/pedestrian path that will lead from the Hartwell parking lot to the middle school and the pool is under construction. Check out the photo below!
Laying the foundation for the bike/pedestrian path around the parking lot.

Tonight’s SBC meeting will be held virtually.

For all you fans of the ins and outs of Open Meeting Law, you’ve undoubtedly been riveted by the unfolding drama of whether the Legislature and Governor could get together before the June 15th deadline to enact an extension of the law allowing virtual meetings. They (mostly) have: The State Legislature approved Senate Bill 2475 last night and it is on Governor Baker’s desk. The SBC and other town boards have been caught up in the uncertainty of what to do about meetings scheduled for this week.

Based on the late-breaking activity, tonight’s SBC will be virtual as originally posted on the agenda. As always, the public is welcome to join the Zoom and the meeting will be recorded.

Here is the language of the bill; the relevant part is section 20.

Just for fun, here’s a photo of the glass being installed on the end wall of the Dining Commons:

We could always “Count” on Steven…

It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Steven Perlmutter, and with immense gratitude that we remember the many contributions, both silly and serious, that he made to the School Building Project.

Steven became involved in the Lincoln School building project in 2013 when he volunteered to serve on the School Building Advisory Committee. What started as a 1-year commitment became an 8-year journey as he helped multiple committees to pull the community together and get us where we are today. In addition to his willingness to wear a giant “Count” costume during the 2017 4th of July parade, there were numerous ways we could “count” on Steven:

  • We could count on him to ask really probing questions.
  • We could count on him to emphasize the beauty of the school campus and the grandeur of its trees.
  • We could count on him to reach out to people in the community to understand their points of view about the project.
  • We could count on him to press hard for clarity of message and simplicity of presentation.
  • We could count on him to read the minutes very, very carefully.
  • And as we neared the December 2018 vote, we could count on him to be the project’s biggest cheerleader – “Time to put the pedal through the metal, everyone!”

For our part, Steven’s family and friends can count on the fact that Steven will always be part of our heart. We miss you, Steven.

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