Rule #10

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

– attributed to Greg LeMan, Rule #10,

Cycling enthusiasts are probably familiar with this quote, which an SBC audience member was sporting on his T-shirt at the June 13th SBC meeting. Given all that needs to be accomplished between now and December 1st, it is the perfect message to get us through the work ahead! So grab a power bar, fill your water bottle, and get ready to shift gears – here we go!

*** First, we must add Lincoln Youth Soccer to the list of groups who deserve a giant “thank you!” LYS was able to reschedule almost every home and away game on June 9th in order to make Town Meeting logistics easier for families. It was a complicated undertaking, and the SBC appreciates this community effort! ***

What’s Ahead?
In our June 6th blog post, we outlined the basics of the “Schematic Design” process. We are embarking on an intensive process that will not rest over the summer. The full schedule of meetings between now and December 1st is posted on the home page. That schedule includes the specific design topics to be covered at each meeting. Starting with the June 27th meeting, we will look at detailed floor plans and site plans.

The SBC will establish the final site plans, floor plans, elevations, sustainability features, and mechanical systems by the beginning of September, so that the design team can develop the final cost estimates! The final cost will be approved by mid- to late October!

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

“Just tell me when to vote…”

  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 – Special Town Meeting to vote for funding (bond vote); 2/3 majority needed
  • Monday, December 3, 2018 – Ballot vote to approve the bond; simple majority needed

“Big milestones…”

  • There will be 3 Community Forums this fall; dates TBA
  • There will also be other events at the Council on Aging, Lincoln PTO, etc; dates TBA
  • These are opportunities to get updated on floor plans, site plans, sustainability features, exterior and interior plans, costs
  • Ask questions; provide feedback

“I want to keep track of the details…”

  • Pay attention to the weekly blog posts (either by subscribing,, or via LincolnTalk)
  • Visit the website!
  • Other committees will also have the project on their agendas as needed. Visit for dates, agendas, and minutes. You can sign up to get meeting notifications from the committees of your choice.

“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. The next 4 meetings are: June 27th, July 11th, July 25th, August 8th. The rest of the dates are on the website.
  • Volunteer to hold a neighborhood coffee – you provide the date, venue and a group of people, we’ll do the rest!

Changing things up!
We recognize that many residents who want to participate will not be able to attend all of the summer meetings, so we will be looking for ways to make this process more interactive. Here are some ideas we’re exploring:

  • Using an interactive web tool for comments and suggestions
  • Televising SBC meetings
  • Changing the structure of some SBC meetings
  • Do you have other ideas? Contact us at!


Thank you!

Click the image to see a gallery of photos from the day.

Concept L3 won 74% of the vote!

After the ballot vote: L3 – 56%; C – 24.7%; L2 – 13.4%; R – 4.3%; and L1 – 1.6%.

As agreed upon beforehand, there was a standing vote between the three finalists: L3, C, L2.

Final vote: L3 – 74%; C – 17%; L2 – 9%

Thank you to the MANY people who helped to make Town Meeting run so smoothly:

  • Town and School administration and staff
  • Our Town Moderator and Deputy Town Moderator
  • Public safety officers
  • Technology staff
  • Maintenance and Custodial staff
  • Town Clerk’s office
  • The volunteers who checked us in and counted us!
  • LEAP – for taking care of about 80 children!
  • 8th Grade students and Girl Scouts for food
  • ALL OF YOU who showed up, shared your ideas, and voted!

Now we move on to begin the Schematic Design process with Concept L3!


June 9th is here!!!

Get ready for the day! You can see slide decks and get lots of Special Town Meeting information by visiting the Special Town Meeting page of the Town website. Click on the image to be transported to the Town site:

What is Schematic Design? What is Value Engineering?

Schematic Design:

The purpose of Schematic Design (“SD”) is to document in detail the scope, budget and schedule of the project. The process results in a complete description of the building’s structural, mechanical, heating/cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems, the interior and exterior materials, and plans for the building site. It also addresses safety and security systems, technology infrastructure, code compliance, functionality, long-term durability, and aesthetic choices. SD leads to a detailed cost estimate that the School Building Committee will bring to the Town for a 2-part bond vote (2/3 majority approval needed at the December 1st Special Town Meeting, and majority approval needed at the December 3rd ballot vote).

The Massachusetts School Building Authority lays out the requirements for SD proposals in its Module 4 Schematic Design Guidelines. Here is a high-level summary of what is included:

  • General and specific architectural characteristics
  • Security requirements
  • Site development
  • Traffic analysis
  • Environmental and geo-technical analyses
  • Building/safety code compliance analysis
  • Utilities and soils analysis
  • Descriptions of all building systems
  • Sustainability analysis
  • Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Massachusetts Architecture Accessibility Board (MAAB) requirements
  • Room Date Sheets: lighting, acoustics, # of outlets, security features, materials, technology, equipment, cabinets, furnishings
  • Construction methodology
  • 2 cost estimates reconciled against each other
  • Work plan and project schedule

To see what this looked like for the 2012 project, click here.

Value Engineering

As part of Schematic Design, the School Building Committee, Owner’s Project Manager and the design team will engage in value engineering. Here is a definition of that process from the National Institute of Building Services:

“Value Engineering (“VE”) is not a design/peer review or a cost-cutting exercise. VE is a creative, organized effort, which analyzes the requirements of project for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest total costs (capital, staffing, energy, maintainance) over the life of the project. Through a group investigation, using experienced, multi-disciplinary teams, value and economy are improved through the study of alternate design[s]…materials, and methods without compromising the functional and value objectives of the client…VE can be applied at any point in a project, even in construction. However, typically the earlier it is applied the higher the return on the time and effort invested.”

To see the “Total Project Budget” from the 2012 project, including a summary of value engineering considerations, click here.

June 9th Primer (including Town Meeting FAQs)

In recognition of the fact that we all have different learning styles, here are two different ways to learn more about the specific proceedings on Saturday, and Town Meeting in general:

For those who enjoy multi-media, here is a short video. If you want more time to absorb any of the information, simply hit your space bar or pause. Do the same to continue playing the video. If you find the music distracting, mute the sound, and if you’re enjoying the Town Meeting soundtrack, pump up the bass!

For those who just want to enjoy a quiet PowerPoint, click here. The slide show will start to play automatically. If you want to advance the slides yourself, hit pause and then use the arrows to go forwards and backwards.  If you want a little music to keep you company, hit play on the soundtrack bar above the PowerPoint.

FAQs – Hubs and Code Compliance

Hubs – What are they?

Whether we are in big public forums, people’s living rooms, scanning Lincoln Talk, or standing in line at Donelan’s, one of the recurring conversations is about “hubs” – What are they? How do they change education? Are they a fad? Are they like my 1970’s open classroom? Is the hub model innovative enough?

The SBC revisited this topic at its May 30th meeting, when Philip J. Poinelli, FAIA, ALEP, LEED AP, MCPPO, Principal and Learning Environment Planner for SMMA, focused on these very questions.

What are hubs and how do they change education? As you can see in the image below, these spaces come with a variety of names (breakout spaces, learning commons, etc.). Generally, they are flexible, multi-use spaces that are adjacent to, and shared by multiple classrooms/learning studios. The idea is to transform the physical environment from a factory model (Classes of 18 – 24 students in a series of same-sized boxes along a corridor) to a neighborhood model (multi-sized spaces around a common area shared by a cohort of students and several teachers). This reflects and supports the fundamental shift in education that is already happening. The pace of change and access to information is such that it is difficult to predict the content students will be learning in 50 years, but we do know that they need to be able to think critically and imaginatively, access and evaluate information, and work collaboratively and across disciplines. Our faculty is already engaged in this kind of education.  As School Committee Chair, Tim Christenfeld, noted during the May 30thSBC meeting, “There is an evolution in teaching, but there’s a disconnect between the teaching and the building.”  Buildings have the power to facilitate and accelerate innovation.

Click on the image to see the slides from the May 30th presentation to the SBC

Are hubs a fad? In his presentation, Mr. Poinelli gave several example of school systems that were pioneers in transformational school design, and that seeing their first buildings in action, have committed themselves to this model.

  • The High Tech High School in San Diego was founded in 2000 with one school. It was built around the concept of “project-based learning” – an interdisciplinary, problem-solving approach to education. The model has grown into a network of schools in California including four elementary schools, four middle schools and six high schools.
  • Department of Defense Educational Activity (DoDEA): DoDEA operates 194 schools serving over 86,000 students. Statistically, DoDEA is the 34th largest school district in the nation though its schools are spread out across the US and the world. In 2011, DoDEA developed its framework for school design based on 21st century education principles.  This is very relevant for Lincoln, as the framework was used to design both the Hanscom Middle School (completed in 2016) and the Hanscom Primary School (under construction). Our faculty is already teaching in this kind of facility.
  • Mr. Poinelli noted that a number of districts have multiple schools designed around a hub approach, including Saskatchewan, Canada and Snohomish, WA
  • The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is now accommodating hub-based designs into the projects they approve. The SBC toured one of these schools, the Gates Middle School, in Scituate. Here is a recent WGBH news item about project based learning at Gates.

    technology bar in a Gates MS hub space

Are they like my 1970’s open classroom? No. Mr. Poinelli said that not all open plan schools had hubs and not all were unsuccessful, but those that failed likely had some of these characteristics:

  • Lack of acoustical isolation – classrooms that were open to each other or separated by poor quality operable partitions. Operable partition technology has improved significantly as has acoustical engineering.
  • HVAC systems within the teaching spaces, which often made distracting noise. Today we can create teaching environments that are very quiet, improving speech intelligibility for the benefit of all students.
  • Lack of visual isolation – the teaching spaces opened to each other with little option to close them off.
  • History tells us that in many communities with open plan schools, there was little teacher professional development conducted in how best to use these new schools. By contrast, the Lincoln Public Schools administration and Hanscom Middle School faculty spent two years planning how to optimize their new environment while they waited for the building to be constructed. The Primary School faculty is now doing the same.
  • Over the past 30 years there has been significant brain research that informs us how we learn and how many of us learn differently from each other. This has had a real impact on how we design learning environments today. Mr. Poinelli commented that “if the educators need to grow into the building, the architects have done their job.”

neighborhood concept

Is the hub model innovative enough? When a group of resident educators presented to the SBC, the question arose whether the hub model was sufficiently forward-thinking. At the current concept-level phase, the project concepts L3 and C show (for grades 3 – 8) grade-level hubs surrounded by similarly sized classrooms.  If one of these concepts is chosen on June 9th, the interior configuration of those grade-level clusters will be developed and refined, and it is possible that they could look more like the neighborhood model in this illustration.  That design work will happen in conjunction with our educators. L3 and C provide enough square footage and heavy renovation/new construction to make those decisions possible.  There is, inherently, more flexibility with the new construction of classroom wings than with the renovation of a cinderblock building.

Another FAQ the SBC often hears is “What is the threshold for code compliance?” After the 1994 school project linked the Smith and Brooks schools, the Lincoln School became a single building. Here is a high-level summary of the structural, accessibility and life-safety codes that will be addressed by all of the concepts under consideration.

School Building Committee Recommendations

At its May 30, 2018 meeting, the School Building Committee (“SBC”) evaluated the five (5) school concepts (R, L1, L2, L3, C) being presented at the Special Town Meeting on June 9, and voted on which, if any, subset it would recommend. Concepts L3 and C were both unanimously recommended by all 16 members and liaisons at the meeting (note: this number includes a written response from one member who was unable to attend in person). Of the 16, five (5) members/liaisons additionally voted for concept L2 as a third recommendation, and 1 member/liaison voted to recommend all five concepts.

The SBC’s vote was guided by the set of principles it adopted last fall with the benefit of input from the community and Town Boards, and visioning sessions with educators. The following distillation of the principles was presented at the January 23, 2018 workshops and subsequent community forums.