…way back in March of 2017 when we were young, carefree, and just starting this process?
Sometimes, unless you are in the Lincoln School every day, it is easy to forget some of the basic reasons we are deciding, THIS SATURDAY, on a school project.
In March 2017, Town Meeting voted unanimously to release $750K that had been previously set aside for a school study, and to start again on developing a Lincoln School project. That vote indicated agreement that the condition of the school needed to be addressed. What do those basic infrastructure needs look like?
- Big systems are at or beyond life expectancy. As a result, classrooms are often uncomfortably cold or hot, disrupting learning and impacting teaching:
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) – The school does not have dehumidification or cooling except in selected areas.
- Building Envelope: roof, windows, insulation
- There is no fire suppression system.
- The school does not meet current snow load, structural, or seismic codes.
- The school and the site do not meet current codes to accommodate people with disabilities.
- Entryways do not conform to best practices either for security or energy efficiency.
To see some images, click here. Also, click on the image below to see a short video taken a couple of weeks ago in our elementary Wellness (aka Physical Education) teachers’ office.
Does that mean we’re not keeping up with maintenance?
No. Each year we have voted as a town to fund a maintenance budget for the Lincoln Schools of about $75,000. The town has a creative and skilled facilities maintenance team that gets the most out of that money by finding parts for obsolete equipment on eBay, making parts, and an endless array of other inventive solutions. About six years ago, for example, they re-sealed the seams on the roof to try to eke out a few more years before a project. It is worth noting that when we were working with the MSBA, which takes a dim view of towns that purposely avoid routine care, they complimented our facilities team on what they were accomplishing through basic maintenance.
Why can’t we just do this in stages?
The cost of replacing major systems means that they must be done as a capital project because they are outside the price range of the operating budget. Each year, the Capital Planning Committee gathers all the capital requests from each town agency, and works collaboratively to prioritize and do long-range planning. When the school department approached CapCom in 2002, the magnitude of the building’s needs led everyone to agree that it would be wise to do a more comprehensive study of the buildings on campus. Since 2003, multiple town committees and six independent consultants have come to the conclusion that a single project is 1) most cost effective; and 2) least disruptive to our children’s education.
- Because building-wide systems need to be replaced, there is no area of the school that will be untouched. As a one-school town, there is no other place to house students while work is being done, and it is too extensive to complete over summers or vacations.
- It does not make sense to do the same work twice, i.e. open up the walls to replace the heating system, and then go back and open up the walls to replace the electrical or plumbing systems.
- Doing extensive work requires us to bring the building up to current safety, accessibility, and structural codes.
- We want to minimize the time students and teachers are operating in a construction zone.
On June 9th, the Town considered a $49M option that would have addressed the building’s basic needs. In the first round of voting, almost 96% of those at Town Meeting rejected that solution and chose one of the other project concepts that went beyond repair and addressed additional needs.
Over these final few days before Saturday’s vote, we will try to condense and revisit information that has been shared over the past months. If you have questions, please write a comment or contact the SBC.
-The Outreach Team
Just for Fun: What is “Budget Falls”?
- A. The latest Wall Street exposé by Michael Lewis.
- B. A thriller set in an abandoned mill town.
- C. What the students named the plastic tarp catching the leaks in the Brooks Hallway.