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Tag: Learning Commons

Topping off 2021!

On Wednesday, Lincoln School students and faculty celebrated the placement of the final beam in a “topping off” ceremony. With her permission, we are sharing Principal Sarah Collmer’s letter to parents:

Dear K-4 Community,

Today we had a “Topping Off Ceremony” to commemorate the final beam being placed in Phase 2 of the Lincoln School Building Project! Consigli painted the beam white and all of the K-4 students and staff, as well as the 5th graders (who weren’t at the middle school last year to do the Phase 1 ceremony) added their names so that we will always be a part of the building’s history!

We went outside to watch the crane place the beam in its spot over what will be the new Learning Commons! It was extremely moving to be together as a school – something we have not done since before the pandemic; and what a thrill it was to hear the kids clapping and cheering. Your child will be coming home with a gift bag from Consigli with a few items to help them remember this special day.

Thank you to the School Building Committee, Consigli, and the Town of Lincoln for all of their hard work and commitment to this project. We are looking forward to returning to the new and renovated Lincoln School in the fall!

Best,

Sarah

What a fun way to close out 2021! On behalf of the School Building Committee, we wish you good health, time to regenerate, and all the best as we start 2022.

The Outreach Team

Beaming up!

One supply chain challenge for the Lincoln School project has been steel delivery. While waiting some extra days for the steel to arrive, our team from Consigli rearranged the construction schedule to ensure that progress continued to be made. The good news is that this past week more steel arrived, including the largest beam in the project! How big? Where is it going? Take our quiz and check your answers at the bottom of the blog post!

  1. Where is the steel coming from? a) Canada b) China c) Donelan’s d) Something Special
  2. How long is the biggest beam? a) 102′- 1″ b) 600″ c) 53′-3″ d) 20 cows + 2 chickens
  3. How much does it weigh? a) 6000 lbs b) 8673 lbs c) 2 tons d) 9535 lbs – “the Covid 19”
  4. How high will it be off the floor? a) about the height of an Anklyosuarus b) 16′-3″ c) 11′-10″ d) 20″
  5. Where will the beam be? Scroll to the bottom of the blog post to find out!

The beam we’ve been highlighting is in section C of the building. As you’ve read prior SBC posts, you’ve probably come across the letter designations for each zone of construction. Below is the image that breaks down the building into sections. Phase 1 (Middle School) was comprised of sections D, E, F, G, and H. Phase 2 (Primary School) is currently underway, and is comprised of section A, B, and C. The slide deck from last Wednesday’s meeting can be found here.

Building Sections Labeled for Construction
ANSWER to Question 5: The beam spans the north side of the Learning Commons, seen here highlighted in red.

At Every Step…

…We are reminded that the school project is a complicated renovation. Along the way, lessons have been learned and are being applied to the second phase of construction. Here is one highly visible example:

When the Middle School was renovated, the existing exterior walls were preserved in many places. Because we are super-insulating the school, it was crucial to carefully apply a vapor barrier on the entire exterior of the building (a.k.a. building envelope). The project team quickly realized that the condition of the existing walls did not provide the high-quality surface needed for the vapor barrier to work properly. After several solutions were explored, the construction team decided to “parge” the exterior of the Middle School. Essentially, a skim coat was applied to the entire building envelope to create a smooth surface. This work required a lot of time and a significant dip into the project’s contingency funds.

That is why the exterior of the Primary School was demolished. New walls will be built incorporating the insulation and vapor barrier required to meet our sustainability goals. This meant using some contingency funds up front for the increase in demolition. The result will provide long-term value to the project.

What will it look like in a year? Looking at the shell and gaping holes in the building, it is hard to remember what it will look like when it is complete in the Fall of 2022.

  • The empty space where the original building was demolished will make way for the new main entrance, the Learning Commons, a new 3rd-grade classroom neighborhood, the central Administrative suite, and a new Media Center.
  • The remaining buildings will be renovated to hold grades preK-2.
Rendering of Learning Commons and Entrance
Outside Administrative Suite, looking into K-4 Science Room

More Information!

  • Click here to see demolition videos.
  • Click here to see the slide deck from the 9/13 SBC meeting.
  • Click here to see the September photo gallery.

Honoring Our History…(and this week’s meeting is on Tuesday)

Honoring Our History…Building Our Future. This statement has been at the head of every blog post since 2017, but how does it really relate to the project? Since the beginning of the project, the School Building Committee (SBC) has collaborated with about a dozen town boards and departments, and this work has helped to shape a project that serves our educational goals and advances the town’s commitment to sustainability, while reflecting the history of the building and the campus.

One of the SBC’s partners throughout the process has been the Lincoln Historical Commission (LHC).  The LHC is the town board that administers Lincoln’s “Demolition Delay Bylaw” (article XXI of the town’s bylaws) which requires every building project that includes demolition to meet with the LHC to determine 1) whether the structure has historical, architectural, or cultural significance; and if so, 2) whether the structure is “preferably preserved.” The LHC worked with the SBC to understand the architectural significance of the Lincoln School and to think about how to incorporate that history into the renovation.

To mark the transition from the first phase of the project to the second, we invited Andrew Glass, chair of the LHC, to write about the ways the renovated building pays tribute to its innovative history while creating a learning environment that will serve our students for decades to come.

Sunshades on middle school; view towards dining commons.

The Lincoln School:  Smith Building and Brook Building Complexes

Lincoln residents and architects Lawrence B. Anderson (1906-1994) and Henry B. Hoover (1902-1989) made significant contributions to Modern architecture in Lincoln.  Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Anderson, with his firm Anderson & Beckwith, designed several buildings for the Lincoln School campus, including the Smith complex from 1947 through the early 1950s and the Hartwell building in 1957.  Hoover designed more than three dozen Modern houses and municipal buildings in Lincoln, including, in 1937, Lincoln’s first Modern house.  With his firm Hoover & Hill, Hoover also designed several buildings for the Lincoln School campus, including the three Hartwell pods between 1959 and 1964 and the Brooks complex between 1963 and 1964.  

The oldest part of the Lincoln School, the Smith Building complex was one of the earliest school buildings in the nation to incorporate Modern design principles. Architectural Forum recognized the innovative qualities of the complex in an August 1950 article, which can be found here. As noted by the Architectural Forum, these qualities include:

  • The transparency between the interior and exterior of the building achieved through the use of continuous bands of fenestration (windows); 
  • Careful attention to how daylight enters the building, including through use of a sunshield between the lower and clerestory windows, which served to shade the lower windows from low-angle morning sun and reflect light up to the interior ceiling through the clerestory; 
  • The use of long bar-shaped classroom buildings to create an encompassing gesture around the Center Field; and
  • The use of acoustical tiles to reduce noise reverberation in the classrooms. 

Hoover’s Brooks Building complex built on these Modern design principles.  In creating the auditorium, he used innovative acoustical “clouds” to help direct sound to the back of the theater.  Hoover was a master of integrating the landscape into his designs, which is reflected in the close connection of each classroom to the exterior and in the creation of a courtyard in the Brooks Building complex.

For the current project, architectural firms SMMA and EwingCole are restoring much of the Smith Building complex and all of the Brooks Building complex, working within the Modern design principles developed by Anderson and Hoover.  

  • Drawing on Anderson’s and Hoover’s legacy of the innovative use of technologies, the revitalized Lincoln School will be an all-electric, net zero building. To reduce heat load and solar glare in the classrooms, the design restores the use of sunshields as pioneered by Anderson.  The filtered light will also reduce the need to rely on artificial lighting within classrooms.  
  • Interestingly, because in the 1940s the Town chose to build a more costly gable roof rather than the shed roof proposed by Anderson, the Town opted not to build the dedicated cafeteria and kitchen that Anderson recommended.  The revitalized School has a dedicated cafeteria and kitchen for the first time, the design of which draws on Anderson’s legacy of using continuous bands of fenestration and clerestory windows to create connections to the outdoors and to provide abundant natural daylight within the building.  
  • Replacing the oldest portion of the Smith Building complex, the design for the new main entrance and Learning Commons also honors Anderson’s Modern design principles using transparent materials and sunshields.
  • Anderson’s gymnasium and Hoover’s classrooms with their innovative use of wooden beams will be restored for decades more use by students.  
  • Honoring Hoover’s legacy of innovative open-plan interior spaces and close connections to the exterior, the revitalized School contains “hub” learning spaces for grades 3 through 8.  Classrooms are arranged around a central common space promoting a neighborhood feeling among the teachers and students of a grade.  Easily-operable glass partitions between the classrooms and the hub allow teachers and students to create larger or smaller learning spaces to suit the needs of students’ varying learning styles and allow the landscape to be seen well within the interior of the building. 
  • The Dining Commons, Learning Commons, and Media Center will open directly onto outdoor terraces that will serve as outdoor learning spaces and community gathering areas during non-school hours. (Note: The construction of the Learning Commons in phase 2 required the demolition of the oldest Smith building. Click here to see videos showing the building before, during and after demolition!)
  • Finally, the School Project has restored the Auditorium, including the innovative acoustical clouds.  The Town will enjoy many years of comfort at Town Meeting and performances in the newly renovated space!

The LHC appreciates SMMA’s and EwingCole’s sensitive renovation of the Smith and Brooks buildings and the creative incorporation of Modern design principles into the revitalization project. – Andrew Glass

This week’s SBC meeting is being held on Tuesday, September 14th at 7:00pm via Zoom. Agenda and link can be found here.

Glass partitions in hub; view through to the outdoors.

August SBC Meeting

Demolition work – looking east from the Smith playing fields.

The SBC will meet virtually on Wednesday, August 11th at 7:00pm. Agenda and Zoom information can be found here. The new August photo gallery is here.

Why the demolition? The oldest section of the building was demolished to prepare for the construction of the new 3rd grade wing, Learning Commons, and Media Center. The classrooms in the left of the photo will be renovated. The image below shows the floor plan of this section of the building.

An End and a Beginning…

Although about 75% of the school project is renovation work, there are a couple of parts that are all-new construction. One is the new connector between the Auditorium and the Reed Gym (image above). The other will be the construction of the new Learning Commons and central entrance (click here to see a rendering). As the first phase of the project winds down, the second phase begins. This week, after school is finished for the year, the original 1948 portion of the school will be demolished to make way for the new section of the building (see the area below circled in red).

Other notable items:

  • Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project will overlap. Throughout the summer the finishing touches will be put on the renovated middle school (Phase 1). It is anticipated that final inspections will be completed by mid-August, and then the teachers will begin moving in and preparing for the 2021-2022 school year!
  • Meanwhile, the middle school teachers have begun packing up their classrooms, and once school lets out on Monday the “Smith” end of the building will be emptied out in preparation for renovation/new construction (Phase 2). Primary school teachers and students will stay in the temporary school next year.
  • The SBC got its monthly project update last Wednesday, and continues to oversee the project costs and progress. Click here for slides from the meeting. June photo gallery is here.
  • The bike/pedestrian path that will lead from the Hartwell parking lot to the middle school and the pool is under construction. Check out the photo below!
Laying the foundation for the bike/pedestrian path around the parking lot.

Interior Design…Blending Old and New

On Wednesday SMMA presented the plans for interior materials and colors. As they developed the palette, they drew on the surrounding landscape for inspiration:

One of the interesting challenges in designing the interior is finding a way to update the building’s look while working with existing cabinetry, walls, and tiles that are being reused. The slide below shows photos of two current elementary classrooms:

The floors will be replaced, but as a cost saving measure the cabinets will remain. To work with these colors, SMMA is proposing the following materials:

Below are images that show how the school will be transformed! To see the whole presentation, click here.

 

See the Latest Design Updates!

At last Wednesday’s meeting, EwingCole and SMMA shared the latest updates to both interior and exterior designs for the center part of the school. The presentation (which can be seen in its entirety here) included:

  • Light studies of the Learning Commons: The Learning Commons have an east to west orientation, and light control is important in the early morning and late afternoon. The SBC reviewed two options for exterior shading, and chose the horizontal fin screen pictured in the images. There will also be internal shades to allow light to be blocked out for presentations.
  • Exterior studies of building materials.
  • Interior studies of the new Media Center and the corridor that will connect the Learning Commons to the Smith end of the building (the “K – 4 Gallery”).

Upcoming Meetings:

  • May 28th: Planning Board, 7pm, Town Offices. This is the initial review of the plan for the modulars. The Conservation Committee approved the plans on May 22nd.
  • June 5th: School Building Committee, 7pm, Hartwell.
  • June 11th: Planning Board, 7pm, Town Offices. Final hearing and vote to approve the plan for the modulars.

 

Design Updates…

The design team is continuing to work through a myriad of site plan, systems, and design details. Following are some updated images that were shown at Wednesday’s meeting.  To see the entire slide deck, click here.

Below is a view of the current site showing the latest thinking about the location and configuration of the temporary school and parking lot (inside the red circle). Once the final contract has been awarded for the modular units, the construction schedule will be updated, and we will begin to share information about what we can all expect when we drive onto the campus after the 4th of July.


Upcoming meetings:

  • April 3rd, Power Purchase Agreement Subcommittee, 7:30am, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • April 10th, School Building Committee, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • April 11th, Outreach Subcommittee, 11:00am, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • April 22nd, Site Subcommittee, 9:00am, Hartwel multipurpose room.
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