This is a Community Project

Over the past 19 months, the Lincoln School project has been forged by the willingness of residents with a wide range of values, priorities, expertise, opinions, and viewpoints to come together to try to collaboratively solve an incredibly complex problem. The goal of the SBC has been to create a process and a platform for individual ideas to be heard and to give direction to its work. In June, we presented 5 viable ways to move forward, and our community made a group decision, in an unprecedented way, about which project best balanced those priorities and delivered the most value for the investment.

At the end of that Special Town Meeting, an overwhelming majority chose the project known as “L3.” The clarity of the vote was due to the fact that many people, with many ideas, were willing to passionately champion their values while demonstrating their willingness to compromise; finding a balance among multiple needs and interests.

The result is a project that is a reflection of resident values; it is “ours,” as a town, in every sense of the word.

What did it take to get to this point?

When we started this process, many challenged us to go beyond a school that is “safe, warm, and dry” and to focus on transforming the educational environment. They noted that the neighborhood model of classrooms, which supports how our educators teach (with future flexibility), would be easiest to achieve in a new, more compact building – not one with classrooms strung out along a long corridor.

Many residents focused on the opportunity to live up to the green energy goals LIncoln set for itself a decade ago, when the town voted to adopt a fossil fuel reduction standard for its public buildings. They focused our attention on “energy use intensity,” the importance of a well-insulated building, new heating & cooling technologies, and the need to generate electricity on site in order to further reduce our carbon footprint. This would be easiest to achieve with new construction.

Others drew our attention to the deep historical ties the town has to the Ballfield Road site. It was the home of the Lincoln Mohawks baseball team in the first half of the 20th century, and where the town regularly gathered in the grand stands. The Lincoln School itself was designed by two Lincoln-resident modern architects, Lawrence Anderson and Henry Hoover. They helped transform school architecture by providing ample access to natural light, connections to the outdoors, and moveable (dare we say flexible?) furniture that wasn’t bolted to the floor. Many residents saw the important connection of the current building to our town’s history, and wanted to ensure that we re-used as much of it as possible and preserved the integrity of the campus.

The Lincoln School is an important center of the community, and many emphasized its role in our recreational and civic life. They placed a high value on retaining both of our full-sized gyms and the Auditorium.

And everyone wanted to ensure that the project would provide good long-term value for the up-front cost – while being mindful of the immediate impact on the community.

As is quickly apparent, it is not easy to reconcile all of these priorities – but there was a lot of determination! As a result of the creativity of our design team and our committee, and a high level of community participation in the process, we all decided that L3 did the best job of drawing all of those interests together.

On Saturday, we will come together to test that hypothesis.

We know that people will come to the meeting looking at the project through different lenses and their own set of experiences. While we all listen to the presentations and the ensuing debate, the following questions might serve as a framework:

  • What is the impact of our decision on future generations of educators and learners?
  • When we look back in 10 or 20 years, will we have made a wise choice?
  • Have we successfully balanced the values of our community? – Education, environmental stewardship, respect for our history and civic life, and fiscal responsibility?
  • What is the impact of our decision on other Town priorities?

Each of us may answer these questions in different ways. We look forward to a thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation on Saturday.

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

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!

Getting Caught Up

On Wednesday the School Building Committee hosted two Community Workshop sessions. There was a great cross-section of the community represented both in the morning and in the evening, and we thank everyone for making time during what is always a hectic week!

The presentation focused on six main areas of the project: the floor plan (where are all the rooms?); the new flexible hub spaces in grades 3 – 8; the central entrance & Commons; the site (how do we make cars, cyclists and walkers all happy?!); sustainability; and phasing (where does everyone go while we’re renovating?) Click here to see the slides from the presentation. Video of the Workshop is available at www.lincolntv.viebit.com.

At the next SBC meeting on September 12th, the committee will sign off on the schematic design and send the plans to the cost estimators. This does not mean that all the design work is done – the details are fleshed out during the design development phase (which comes after the December bond vote) – but this current phase establishes the major design and construction components of the project.

Outreach Events: Couldn’t make it to the workshops? Take the opportunity to talk directly to SBC members at these two upcoming events:

  • Thursday, September 13th – PTO Welcome Back Picnic, 5:00 – 7:00pm, Codman Pool parking lot.
  • Friday, September 14th – Bemis Hall, 1:00pm

 

Framing the Cost-Benefit Analysis: Multi-Board Meeting Recap

On January 9th, the Board of Selectmen hosted a multi-board meeting to talk about how to set the context for decisions about the Lincoln School project and a community center project.

The ultimate goal is to make well-informed, rational, and forward-thinking decisions that benefit the town and hold up under future scrutiny. Doing so requires that we all engage in a complicated and nuanced cost/benefit analysis.

Those at the meeting reviewed a draft of the Campus Projects Briefing Document, which outlines questions that need to be answered in order to evaluate the projects choices that will be put before us.  This is a living document that has been updated to reflect ideas heard at the meeting.

Also at the meeting, the Finance Committee and Capital Planning Committee provided answers to some of the questions being raised.  A few take-aways:

  • The Town should be able to borrow up to $100 million and still retain our AAA bond rating (the best rating), assuming that we formalize some management policies and keep adequate cash reserves going forward. Note this is not a recommendation on whether we should or want to bond that amount.
  • For a median property (median house value is $972,200), property taxes will rise by about $275-$310 for each $10million borrowed.
  • Lincoln’s debt service vs. operating budget ratio is currently low, and will remain within a tenable range for total borrowing of up to $100 million.
  • The campus projects are the largest capital projects on the immediate horizon. Click here to see CapCom’s January 9th Slides, which give more information about capital project history and those on the horizon.
  • You can watch the entire meeting here.
As always, please visit www.lincolnsbc.org to learn more – and pass this message on to a friend!

Thank you…

State of the Town
Group A, Option 2

State of the Town
Group C, Option 2

…to the roughly 250 people who spent their Saturday morning at State of the Town!
If you weren’t able to make it, or you were there and would like further opportunity to weigh in on the Lincoln School concepts or the Community Center’s character-study photographs, you still have time! Responses will be collected through Friday, November 10th.
Lincoln School Initial Concepts:  Click here to see the concepts and to fill out an “I like, I wish, I wonder” feedback form.
Community Center Photographs and Survey: To see and weigh in on the character-study photographs and the wishlist survey, click here.
In the next few days, you’ll be able to watch the video of State of the Town here.