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.

FAQ – Tax Relief Programs

~~ TONIGHT! Multi-Board Meeting ~~

7:00pm – 9:00pm Hartwell Pod B

The School Building Committee, Finance Committee, Capital Planning Committee, and Green Energy Committee will present updated information in preparation for December 1st.  

The public is welcome and encouraged to come ask questions!


FAQ: Are there any ways to mitigate the impact of the property tax increase?

The Town of Lincoln offers all of the tax deferral and abatement programs authorized by the state. Below is a chart of the available programs. For more information about property taxes, please visit the Assessor’s web page on the Town website.

See the Latest!

After getting strong guidance from the community that it preferred a “sloped roof” approach to the new center of the building, our design team incorporated the feedback people gave and created updated drawings of the exterior.  Take a look!

Did you weigh in?…

…there’s still time!

At the November 1st Community Workshops, participants were asked to give their opinions about the look of the new central entrance & commons areas of the school.  So far, 79% of those who gave us feedback at the workshops or online have said they prefer the sloped roof design. What is your opinion? We’re still accepting feedback, so take a look at the sloped vs flat images and let us know what you think! The SBC will be discussing the two options at this week’s meeting: Wednesday, November 7th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

Green Energy Committee Presentation

At the November 1st workshops, the Green Energy Committee talked about the sustainability aspects of the project that would make it a leader in public school renovation projects. Click here to see their slides.

Community Outreach

If you weren’t able to get to one of the workshops, swing by one of the SBC outreach events this week:

  • Friday, November 9th, 8:30am – Lincoln Woods Community Room
  • Friday, November 9th, 1:00pm – Bemis Hall
  • Saturday, November 10th, 1:00pm – Lincoln Library

Financial & Capital Planning

  • Monday, November 5th, 7:30pm, Donaldson Room – The Finance Committee will be meeting to discuss the financing structure for the project. Click here to see the slides the Finance Committee presented at the State of the Town on October 20th. 
  • Thursday, November 8th, 7:30pm, Town Offices – The Capital Planning Committee has the project on their agenda.

Coming Soon! 

The SBC is collecting a new set of FAQs and will address them in upcoming posts! If you’d like to check out our current collections of FAQs, visit the FAQs home page. 

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

SOTT Recap

Now that we are in the home stretch, you will be hearing from the Outreach Team a bit more frequently – we thank you for understanding!

State of the Town Update
At Saturday’s State of the Town, the SBC gave an update on the Lincoln School project’s progress since June. Here are the highlights (see the slides, including information from the Finance Committee, here):

  • The SBC has focused on 6 major components of the project:
    • Classroom neighborhoods centered on “hub” spaces for grades 3 – 8.
    • The central “heart” of the school: flexible learning commons, media center (library), central dining commons, kitchen, and a central entrance.
    • Sustainability and systems: energy generation (photovoltaic panels), heating/cooling, insulation, safety & security, electrical, and plumbing systems.
    • Exterior architecture.
    • Site plans: roads, walking and bike paths, and recreational spaces.
    • Phasing: where do students go during renovation?
  • Cost: For the past 3 weeks, the SBC has concentrated on a “value-engineering” process to keep the project on budget. What does that mean? Where are we now?
    • June 9th: The budget we chose as a Town was $93.9M.
    • September 26th: The SBC got estimates from 2 independent cost estimators. The draft estimates were $102M and $109M.
    • September 28th: The two estimators reconciled their estimates to $104M.
    • October 3rd: SBC’s task? Reduce the project by $10M!
      • SMMA presented about 100 items to consider cutting or reducing.
    • October 3rd – October 17th: The SBC closed the gap and brought the project back to budget! How? Most of the gap was closed by scaling back site work, negotiating for a better price on temporary classrooms, and choosing to pursue a Power Purchase Agreement to install photovoltaic panels instead of incurring this as a capital cost. NOTE: Value-engineering is not just about cutting cost, but about making trade-offs that maintain the long-term value of the project. For example, the SBC chose to add in a better heating/cooling system and accepted a small budget increase to enable us to move forward with the tweak to the design that provided a better floor plan for the central part of the school.

Next SBC Meeting: Wednesday, October 24th, 7pm, Hartwell

 

Welcome to the SBC Rollercoaster…

Sometimes you’re up…
There has been a lot of discussion over the past many weeks about the floor plan in the central part of the Lincoln School, the part comprised of the media center (library), dining commons, kitchen, and learning commons. After a number of permutations, the design team took the feedback it was getting from the SBC and the community, and developed one more. It was well-received by the SBC and the community members in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting! Here are some of the reasons:

  • It “flips” the location of the media center and the 3rd grade neighborhood from the previous iteration.
  • It moves the 3rd grade closer to the 4th grade, making it easier for them to share a “swing classroom” (one that shifts according to enrollment needs).
  • The main entrance faces the media center instead of the 3rd grade. It gives the 3rd grade more privacy, and makes it easier to close off the classroom spaces from the more public, community areas.
  • It allows for transparency and flow through the building from east to west.

The SBC voted to move forward with an analysis of how this floor plan works 3-dimensionally and how it impacts cost. Click on the image below to see the slides from Wednesday’s meeting.

And sometimes…
Also on Wednesday, the SBC got the initial draft cost estimates from two independent estimators. We knew that there was a possibility that the initial estimates could come in higher than the $93.9M we voted for in June. Nevertheless, it did not make it any easier to hear that the draft estimates were $102M and $109M. So now what?

  • The estimators, our Owners Project Manager, and our design team are going through the estimates line by line to ensure they are estimating the same scope, materials, quantities, and costs.
  • The reconciled initial estimates will be presented to the SBC on Wednesday, October 3rd.
  • Also on the 3rd, the design team will bring forward a set of possible ways to cut cost. The SBC will begin to evaluate and make decisions about each of these options. This is likely to require additional time at subsequent meetings.
  • Throughout this “value-engineering” process, the challenge for the SBC will be to make responsible cost-cutting decisions that maintain the integrity and long-term value of the project, while achieving the target budget of $93.9M.
  • NOTE: At this stage of schematic design in 2012 the initial draft estimates were above the target budget. The 2012 SBC went through this same process and successfully brought the project to the target budget – it is not easy, but we are committed.

Please join us!

  • October 3rd: Next SBC Meeting, 7pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room
  • October 18th: Multi Board Meeting, 7pm – 9pm, location TBA
  • October 20th: Special Town Meeting AND State of the Town Meeting, 9am – 12:30pm, Lincoln School Auditorium
  • November 15th: Multi Board Community Forum, 7pm – 9pm, location TBA

This week at the SBC…

SAVE THE DATE: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20th!

SPECIAL TOWN MEETING AND

ANNUAL STATE OF THE TOWN (SOTT) MEETING

9:00am – 12:30pm, Lincoln School Auditorium

There will be an update from the School Building Committee at SOTT – Join your friends and get caught up on the school project and other important Town issues!

This week’s SBC Meeting:  Wednesday, September 26th, 7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room.

On the agenda:

  • Design: Further discussion about possible refinements to the central dining/learning commons and the media center (library).
  • Initial Cost Estimates: The preliminary cost estimates from two independent cost estimators will be presented to the SBC.  Over the course of the following week, the estimating firms will work together to examine and reconcile each line item. A reconciled estimate will be presented at the October 3rd SBC meeting.