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Update from Town Meeting 2019

For the first time in…a long time…there was no school project presentation or vote at Town Meeting. However, there were two warrant articles with ties to the project:

  • Property Tax Study Committee: In February, the Selectmen (BOS) appointed the Study Committee, which is charged with examining existing tax abatement/deferral programs, determining unmet needs, investigating other possible programs, and making recommendations to the BOS. Click here to see the slides from Town Meeting.
  • Solar Bylaw: Lincoln first adopted a solar bylaw about a decade ago. Since then, both photovoltaic (PV) technology and the financial arrangements for installing PV panels have changed. Town Meeting voted to amend the current solar bylaw to allow residents, businesses, and the Town to enter into power purchase agreements (PPAs). This was a critical vote for the school project, and it was approved virtually unanimously. To learn more about how the bylaw was changed, visit the FAQ page on the Town website.

This Week’s SBC Meeting: The SBC will meet on Wednesday, March 27th @ 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room. The agenda includes:

  • Review site and floor plans
  • Review exterior elevations
  • Review HVAC systems
  • Review monthly budget update
  • Review updated modulars plan (temporary classrooms)

Honoring our History…

As the SBC and design team work through the Design Development phase, there are discussions about the preservation and reinstallation of historic elements such as the butterfly weathervane and the bell from the deCordova estate. In addition, the committee is considering ways to salvage some materials from the demolition process for reuse in the building. Here are some examples:

  • deCordova Bell: The current proposal is to install the bell in the new Reed Gym connector. This is an area that will be visible to the community during events in the gym and/or the Auditorium.
  • Butterfly Weathervane: Given the scale of the weathervane, an outdoor location is probably most appropriate. The image shows some possible locations.
  • Wood Flooring from the Smith stage: The design team is proposing using the flooring from the Smith stage as an architectural accent in the Learning Commons.

…Building our Future

This was the last SBC meeting before the Design Development drawings and specifications are sent out for the next round of cost estimates (cost estimates will be reviewed at the April 10, 2019 meeting). Many details are being worked through, such as the layout of the new kitchen & dining commons. SMMA’s kitchen consultant is continuing to collaborate with the administrative team, including the Director of Food Services.  They are thinking about issues such as the ease of refilling food displays, height of the check out lines for our younger students, and orientation of the serving and check out lines for maximum efficiency. Here is the latest plan:

Also at the last meeting, the SBC heard an overview of the instructional technology plan. This includes the network infrastructure, presentation tools for classrooms and large spaces, and safety and communication equipment. The plan is to build on our current systems and tools, and do our best to “future proof” our technology. This means building in the flexibility to upgrade and replace sytems and equipment as they change over time.

And in the short term…

The SBC saw the latest iteration of the planned layout for the temporary school that will be built on the center field. Preparations for installation of the modulars are expected to begin after July 4th.

The link to the entire presentation can be found here.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, March 27th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

Inspiring the next generation…


Next SBC Meeting: Wednesday, March 13th, 7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room.  On the agenda:

  • Review updated floor plans
  • Review options for salvaged items
  • Review preliminary instructional technology

Click here for the link to the 2/27 design slide deck, and here for the 2/27 tax impact presentation from the Finance Committee.


Over a year ago, SBC member Craig Nicholson initiated a collaboration between the Boston Architectural College (BAC) and the Lincoln School. Just recently, Craig shared the BAC students’ final report with the SBC and design team. Here is his description of the program:

This project was established through the BAC’s “Gateway to Practice Initiative” which provides a platform for architectural and design students to gain experience in project planning and delivery through community partnerships in the greater Boston area. The Gateway to Practice program strives to satisfy three goals:

  • Forge sustainable and enduring partnerships with nonprofits, community organizations, and municipalities;
  • Provide community partners with access to design services through projects with clearly defined goals and deliverables;
  • Give BAC students opportunities to expand their knowledge base and apply learning through research and action, engage with community leaders and stakeholders, collaborate across disciplines, and acquire vital professional skills and competencies.

The participating BAC students, under the guidance of architect Rashmi Ramaswamy, partnered with Lincoln faculty and students to engage in the school design process. With support from Superintendent Becky McFall and Principal Sharon Hobbs, middle school art teacher Pam DiBiase and BAC students led middle school students through a series of charettes focused on elements of the design process. In doing so, Lincoln students were able to learn about design theory and play an active role in the development of innovative ideas, models, and prototypes for various spaces within the proposed plan of the school. The culmination of their work is included in the final booklet prepared by the BAC students, and our design team. Hopefully there will be a way to incorporate some of the ideas into the renovation project!

Project Bond Update

At the February 27th SBC meeting, Jim Hutchinson, Chair of the Finance Committee, provided information about the recently issued bond for the project, and shared analysis of the impact on residential tax bills.

On February 15th, the Town’s “AAA Stable” bond rating was reconfirmed by Standard & Poors. This was excellent news for Lincoln, and reflects the decades of hard work and sound financial policy practiced by our professional and volunteer financial team. With the best possible rating in hand, an initial $80M bond was put out to bid and eight offers were received. Citibank Global Markets offered the lowest interest rate, an average of 3.38% over the 30 year life of the bond, which is significantly lower than the percentage rates used in the tax impact models shown at the December 1st Town Meeting. Following are two ways of looking at the tax impact:

The table below shows the projected tax impact on different house values for FY20. It takes into account the proposed FY20 Budget (on which we will vote at the March 23rd Town Meeting).The graph compares the impact of the current scenario ($80M just borrowed @ 3.38% + an expected $8.5M bond @ 4% in 2021) to two prior estimates on a calendar year basis. For the current scenario only (light green bar), the graph includes the impact of the proposed FY20 budget.

Rule #10…Revisited…

“It never gets easier, you just go faster.”  

– attributed to Greg LeMond, Rule #10, http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

You may remember this cycling quote from our blog post after June 9th…It is equally appropriate now! Given all that will get accomplished between now and the end of April, it is the perfect message to get the SBC and design teams through the work ahead! So, once again, grab a power bar, fill your water bottle, and get ready to shift gears – here we go!

Welcome Consigli!

Consigli was chosen as the project’s construction team.  Since we are using a “Construction Manager at Risk” model, Consigli is now on board and part of this new phase, and they will see the project through to completion. Dave Curry, Director of Pre Construction and Estimating, and Christian Riordan, Project Executive, joined the SBC at its meeting last week. Visit the Project Team page to meet all of our design, OPM, and SBC members.

What’s Ahead?

We are now embarking on an intensive Design Development (DD) process that will take us through April 2019. The full schedule of meetings is posted on the www.lincolnsbc.org home page.

The DD phase develops and finalizes the key architectural and engineering components.

  • At the end of DD there is another round of cost estimates to ensure the project is on budget.
  • At the end of April, the Construction Documents phase will begin. 

Working with Town Boards:

  • The SBC and design team will work through a set of permitting requirements in conjunction with several town boards:
    • Conservation Commission
    • Historical Commission
    • Planning Board
  • Power Purchase Agreement Working Group:  The School Committee will appoint a working group, which will include representation from the Green Energy Committee and the Finance Committee, to develop the PPA. This work will be in collaboration with the SBC and design/construction team.

In addition, there will be an Educational Leadership working group, comprised of school leaders, that will work with the design team throughout the DD process. Also, as they did at the start of the feasibility study process, SMMA will meet with mulitple faculty groups at the start of the DD phase.

Finally, there will be a Logistics Working Group, comprised of representatives from SMMA, Daedalus, Consigli, and school and SBC leadership. This group will meet regularly throughout DD.


How can community members stay up to date?

Here is a “level of interest” guide to get you through the next several months:

“Big milestones…”

  • Update at Annual Town Meeting, Saturday, March 23, 2019.
  • April 24, 2019 SBC Meeting: Final cost estimate before Construction Documents phase begins.

” I want to keep track of the details…”

“I want to be fully involved…”

  • Please come to SBC meetings!
  • This is an intense, complex, iterative process, and each meeting will advance us further.
  • Watch the meetings on the town video website.

Do you have ideas for the website?

The website has been changed around a bit to reflect this new phase. Do you have suggestions to make it easier to navigate? Contact the Outreach Team at sbc@lincnet.org!

Educational Value(s)…and Some Financial FAQs…

District Strategic Plan

Each year, with input from the community, the Lincoln School Committee and Administrative Team set strategic priorities for the district. These priorities guide professional development and collaboration in the Lincoln School and in the Hanscom Schools. Since the new Hanscom Middle School opened in 2016, the district has had the opportunity to see how a school designed around grade-level neighborhoods and flexible common spaces can support our educational priorities, and how it makes it easier for our teachers to engage in the kinds of collaborations that spark creative and engaging curriculum.

Our teachers are our best educational resource. The building and environment can make their work easier or harder. Below are some resources to learn more about the impact of the learning environment:

  • Want to read about some of the values articulated by our faculty? Visit our October 15, 2017 post, How Spaces Impact Learning.
  • The Industrial Age gave us the assembly line. It also instilled the philosophy that education — and the school buildings where learning happens — needed to mimic that style of design, with facilities built around long corridors that file students into boxlike classrooms filled with rows of desks…But in the 21st century, education is moving away from the assembly-line mentality, encouraging students to collaborate, work hands-on, explore their environment, and continually engage with fresh ideas.” —Excerpted from How Architecture Boosts 21st Century Learning published by the site “The T74,” a non-partisan, non-profit site covering education in America.
  • For more about hubs, revisit our June 3rd post, FAQs: Hubs & Code Compliance.
  • Visit the “Impact on Education” page of the SBC website to learn more, watch videos, etc.

Some Financial FAQs (with assistance from the Finance Committee & Town Finance Team)

I’ve seen that taxes would go up 17% – 19%. Would they keep going up by that much every year?
No. Paying for the bond is like making payments on a fixed rate, 30-year mortgage. The cost for the bond remains constant once it is fully added to the tax bill. However, unlike taking out a mortgage, the Town is likely to issue the bond in two “tranches” or pieces, that will mean the increase in taxes will likely be phased in over 3 years.

When would the project show up on my tax bill?
Based on the currently anticipated borrowing schedule, the first impact would occur in the tax bill for the second half of calendar year 2019.

Will it happen all at once?
No. Based on the currently anticipated borrowing schedule, about 45% of the total increase would appear on the tax bill for the 2nd half of calendar year 2019. That same amount would be included in both semi-annual tax bills of calendar year 2020, bringing that year’s added payments to 90% of the total increase. The two semi-annual added payments in calendar year 2021 would be slightly higher and add up to 95% of the total increase, and then the tax bills from calendar year 2022 onwards would have the full increase included. In other words, it will take about 3 years until we are paying the full “mortgage payment” on the school.

FAQs: Town Meeting & Voting

Town Meeting, June 9th

When do we vote on the project?

  • NEXT SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1st – Special Town Meeting
  • MONDAY, DECEMBER 3rd – Ballot Vote

How long does the Town Meeting Last?

There is no definitive answer to that question, but here is what we DO know:

  • 8:00am – Check in begins outside the Auditorium. PLEASE CHECK IN EARLY, even if you need to drop off a child, go pick up a friend, etc.
    • All voters must check in outside the Auditorium, but you can vote from either the Auditorium or the Reed Gym.  If you would like to speak, you must come to the Auditorium.
  • 9:00am – Town Meeting presentations will begin promptly!
  • 10:30am – Discussion begins. It can be expected to last at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but this is Town Meeting, so it is unpredictable!
  • Whenever the Meeting votes, there will be a 10-minute break to ensure that people are seated and the volunteers who do the counting are in place. THEN THE DOORS WILL CLOSE – YOU MUST BE IN THE AUDITORIUM OR IN THE REED GYM IF YOU WANT TO BE COUNTED!
  • Although there may be a voice vote, it is most likely to be a standing vote.

Can I bring my children to Town Meeting?

YES! They are welcome anywhere – and if you think your child needs some running room, the back half of the Reed Gym will have open space for play. The front half of the Gym will be set up with chairs for when it’s voting time.

How many votes are needed? 

  • There must be a 2/3 majority for the project to pass at Town Meeting.
  • There must be a simple majority for the project to pass at the ballot.
  • Both votes are required if the project is to move forward.

Do we still have a ballot vote on Monday if the project doesn’t pass at Town Meeting?

  • YES! Both votes are happening, and each vote has a “shelf life.”
  • For any capital project (fire truck or school) it does not matter whether a town meeting vote or a ballot vote comes first.
  • If one vote passes and one fails, there is a limited time during which to call another Town Meeting/Ballot vote (whichever was not successful the first time.)

I can’t be at Town Meeting on Saturday, can I vote absentee?

NO. You must be present to vote at any Town Meeting.

I can’t make it to the polls on Monday, can I vote absentee?

YES! Absentee ballots are now available at the Town Clerk’s office.


Just for fun…What do temporary classrooms look like?

Click here to see the temporary classrooms our Hanscom K-3 students are currently using while the new Hanscom Primary School is being finished. (The Lincoln Public Schools District includes the Lincoln School and the Hanscom Primary and Middle Schools on Hanscom Air Force Base.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Outreach Team wishes everyone a turkey-and-pie-filled, enjoyable few days!

We will be on hiatus for just a bit…and then you’ll be hearing from us quite frequently in the final days before the Special Town Meeting which is a week from Saturday!

A few links in case you’re trying to avoid doing the dishes:

Lincoln School Project Overview (this should have arrived in the mail along with the official Town Meeting warrant notice and a glossary of Finance Committee terms.

FAQs: Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

Finance Committee FAQs

FAQs: Tax Deferral and Abatement Programs

Click here to visit the Town’s page dedicated to the December 1st Special Town Meeting.  Lot’s of information!

 

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.

 

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