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Building our Future

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”

The Ultimate Group Project

What makes a group project successful?  Our students can tell you that group work is most productive and exciting when innovation and inclusion are valued, and when members come with ideas, specific knowledge, and a willingness to ask probing questions. As a community, we are engaged in just such a process!
How Can a Building Support our Educational Vision? October 17th Community Workshop: Superintendent Becky McFall, and educational planners from SMMA and EwingCole will lead two workshop sessions (8:00am and 7:00pm) focused on how architecture and design support educational goals. They will share the priorities expressed by our educators during an all-day visioning sessionheld September 28th, show examples of other schools, and engage the community in discussion about specific concepts and educational spaces. Join us at 8:00am AND/OR 7:00pm, Brooks Gym.
This Week: On Wednesday, October 11th, the SBC and members of the PPDC will learn more about community priorities through a series of short presentations from the Historical Commission, Public Safety, the Planning Board, the Green Energy Committee, the Conservation Commission, and the Commission on Disabilities. Added to previous presentations from Parks & Recreation and the Water Commission, these conversations will help the SBC, PPDC, and the community understand the complex series of opportunities and issues that must be balanced as work moves forward. Join us at 7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room.
Recap of October 3rd Workshops: Last Tuesday, more than 130 community members came together in the Brooks Gym for interactive sessions aimed at exploring the future of the Ballfield Road Campus. The sessions were facilitated by the architecture firm SMMA, which in partnership with EwingCole, was hired by the School Building Committee (SBC) in August. In addition to the design team, members of the SBC and the Community Center Preliminary Planning and Design Committee (PPDC) were there to listen and learn from the professionals and the community.
Both the morning and evening sessions featured information-sharing and gathering as SMMA used five possible campus configurations to generate discussion and to more deeply understand Lincoln’s collective priorities for a revitalized campus, one that will cohesively accommodate a preK-8 school and possibly a community center on one site. Echoed continuously by both the community and the architects was a commitment to preserving the unique character of our campus, while at the same time defining a forward-looking vision that improves the campus experience for students and Lincolnites of all ages for years to come. Missed the workshops?  See the video of the evening session here.

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!

Ballfield Road

“In 1932…an anonymous Lincoln resident generously donated to the Town about 7.25 acres to be used as a Town Ball field. Costs to prepare the field and an access road were estimated at $4950, but all but $1000 of those expenses were also donated by residents.

Lincoln was a baseball town. That same year, the Lincoln Mohawks Baseball Team won their first league championship. Later, they became a semi-professional team, competing against teams from Waltham, Cambridge, and other larger communities.  Smith School was being constructed next door when the Mohawks repeated as league champions from 1947 to 1951. As they played on the Town Ball field, the community came together, sharing in sport and fun. Watching the Mohawks was an indisputable Fourth of July tradition.”

– Jack MacLean, Town Historian

To read more of Jack’s history of the Lincoln Ball Field, click here.

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.

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