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Tag: Learning Commons

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.

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.

Worth a 1000 Words…

At the 2/27 SBC meeting, the design team (SMMA/EwingCole) presented the latest iterations of interior and exterior design elements. Some examples are below, and more can be found in the image gallery here.

The next SBC meeting is on Wednesday, March 13th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

The SBC is considering two options for controlling solar glare on the eastern and western sides of the Learning Commons:

2/27/19 (option 1) perforated metal screen; there is flexibility to design the image produced by the perforations
2/27/19 (option 2) series of horizontal slats based on design elements of original Smith School

Another view of the center of the school: main entrance, Learning Commons, and Dining Common

2/27/19 iteration of the Main Entrance

Studies of the interior of the Learning Commons

2/27/19 study of the Learning Commons, looking west
2/27/19 study of the interior of the Learning Commons, looking east

Study for the interior of the Reed Connector

2/27/19 iteration of the interior of the Reed Gym connector

This Week @ the SBC: Bond Rate & Design Updates!

In December, the Finance Committee used estimated bond rates of 4% and 5% to model the projected tax impact of the project…

Last week the town’s finance team got an updated bond rating and was ready to put the initial project bond out to bid, locking in our interest rate. The initial bond is for $80M out of the $88.5M residents authorized the town to borrow in order to fund the $93.9M project ($4.4M from the Stabilization Fund and $1.0M from free cash make up the difference between $88.5M and $93.9M). The Finance Committee will give us the bid results and more details at Wednesday’s meeting!

Also on the agenda:

  • Review Updated Floor Plan
  • Review Updated Exterior Elevations and Materials
  • Review Interior Designs of Community Spaces
  • Review Updated Monthly Budget

The SBC meeting is on Wednesday, February 27th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.

Not Our First Rodeo…

Interior DesignAt the January 23rd SBC meeting, the SBC got a look at design concepts for the the interior of the school.  SMMA talked about choosing interior finishes that 1) create a calmer visual environment; 2) are durable; and 3) stay within our budget. This is made a bit more challenging by the fact that this is a renovation project, and that a number of colorful items will remain in place (i.e. teal countertops and cabinets in some rooms). As the interior is planned, it is important to think about future repairs and replacement when choosing the finishes, and later, the furniture. For example, we don’t want to specify 400 kiwi green chairs only to discover that a) the color will soon be discontinued, or b) that in a few years the “kiwi” of 2019 reminds us too much of the “avocado” of 1979. Fortunately, our administrative team has spent the last several years making these kinds of decisions for the Hanscom Primary and Middle Schools. We are able to draw on this depth of experience and the lessons learned.

Project ScheduleOur Construction Manager, Consigli, presented two important pieces of information at the meeting:

  1. Their cost estimate for the project (based on the Schematic Design phase) came in at essentially the same cost as the prior two estimates by SMMA and Daedalus. There will be another round of cost estimates in late March at the end of the Design Development phase.
  2. Consigli believes that the project can be completed by the start of the 2022/23 school year.  This is about six months earlier than previously planned (the image above shows a comparison of the old and new project schedules). This is one advantage of using a construction manager versus the “design, bid, build” construction method. Consigli is on board now, is part of the detailed investigation of existing conditions, and can help solve problems before difficult (or costly) issues arise.

Site Work: A Site Plan working group was brought together to think through refinements to the site plan. The initial meeting included representation from SMMA, Daedalus, the administrative team, the Conservation Commission, Parks & Recreation, the Roadway & Traffic Committee, the Cycling Safety Committee, and the SBC. The group will examine site related issues and bring ideas and recommendations to the SBC for its consideration.

Making Progress…

The Design Development phase is defined by a continuous series of design refinements, feedback, and decisions. At Wednesday’s SBC meeting, the committee reviewed a couple of different roofline options for the Learning Commons, and considered several possible design directions for the pathways and courtyards on both the east and west sides of the new main entrance.

Learning Commons: After reviewing both “gable” roof and “hipped” roof schemes, the SBC voted to direct the design team to continue to develop the gable roof option. The image above shows the latest iteration of the Learning Commons and main entrance – the design will continue to evolve.

Site PlanSMMA presented three variations of the pathways and courtyards adjacent to the main entrance/Learning Commons. The image above shows the general design direction chosen by the SBC. It features courtyards that flank the Learning Commons both to the east (front) and west (back) of the building. The courtyard in front is envisioned as a more public community space, while the courtyard in the back is seen as being more student-centered (or “business in the front, party in the back” as someone vividly described it!) This design, too, will continue to be developed and refined over time.

NOTE: The SBC learned that this was the last time we would be  joined by Samantha Farrell, Landscape Designer, SMMA, who will be moving out of Massachusetts. We want to express our gratitude to Ms. Farrell for her work on the project, and extend our best wishes to her as she embarks on her next adventure!

Exterior Building MaterialsSMMA and EwingCole presented a number of images and ideas for the exterior finishes of the building.  It is proposed that the school remain a primarily brick building with accent materials in selected areas of the building. Click here to see the complete slide deck from the meeting.

Working Group UpdatesThere are several working groups that are addressing specific aspects of the project. This work will then be reviewed and approved by the full SBC.

  • Education Working Group: This is comprised of members of the school’s administrative team and the design team. In December, SMMA met with teams of teachers to discuss specific and detailed needs. This information informs the development of the school’s interior spaces.
  • Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Working Group: This group includes committee and community members who have an interest and/or experience in solar energy contracts. The group is working with a solar energy consultant to understand how best to structure an a PPA that meets our energy generation needs and is economically advantageous. The PPA Group is meeting weekly on Wednesday mornings at 8am in the Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • Sustainability Working Group: This group has multiple tasks: 1) Finalize the draft of the “Owners Project Requirements” (OPR) document that outlines the Town’s goals for the project – energy performance, indoor environment quality, water use and stormwater treatment, etc.; 2) Review and recommend to the SBC specific mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; 3) Interview and recommend to the SBC a “Commissioning Agent” who will be responsible for ensuring that the design and construction are meeting the goals of the OPR.

Upcoming Meetings:

  • PPA Meeting – Wednesday, January 16th, 8:00am, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • SBC Meeting – Wednesday, January 23rd, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • Sustainability Meeting – Friday, February 1st, 8:00am, Hartwell multipurpose room. This meeting will bring together the design team, relevant town boards, and representatives from Eversource. The goal is to provide an overview of all the components that come under the “sustainability” umbrella, review who is responsible for each piece of the puzzle, and to identify any additional questions or tasks that may need to be addressed.
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