On Budget…

The consensus of three independent cost estimates is that the project continues to be on budget! The Design Development phase is now drawing to a close, and the Construction Documents (CD) phase begins. The next round of cost estimates will been at “60% CD,” which means when the construction documents are 60% complete.

Project Schedule

At Wednesday’s meeting, our construction team from Consigli presented an updated project schedule. The schedule represents a lot of think about a wide range of details. The Logistics Sub Group, comprised of design and construction team members, along with our school admin and facilities team, will continue to refine the schedule and consider all aspects of the project: construction staging areas; safe traffic flow for cars, buses, construction vehicles, and pedestrians; wetlands and tree protection, etc. See the presentation here.

The chart below gives an overview of the latest information about how the project affects different grades and the community over the next several years. Refinements of the plan will continue!

Meeting Schedule:

  • April 22nd: The Site Sub Committee will meet at 9am, Hartwell multipurpose room.
  • April 24th: SBC meeting has been CANCELLED. This meeting was in place for value engineering. Due to the positive news about the budget estimates, it is not needed. Next SBC meeting is on May 8th.
  • April 25th: Outreach Committee meeting is CANCELLED.
  • May 1st: Conservation Commission will conduct the first of two public hearings on the plan for the modular classrooms.
  • The Outreach Team is taking a brief break. Look for the next blog post on May 5th!

The bottom line…

As mentioned in prior posts, the Design Development drawings were recently submitted for another round of cost estimation. Those estimates will be reviewed at this week’s SBC meeting.

Wednesday, April 10th, 7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room

  • Review preliminary construction costs
  • Review updated construction timeline
  • Subcommittee reports
  • Site permitting update

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

Project Bond Update

At the February 27th SBC meeting, Jim Hutchinson, Chair of the Finance Committee, provided information about the recently issued bond for the project, and shared analysis of the impact on residential tax bills.

On February 15th, the Town’s “AAA Stable” bond rating was reconfirmed by Standard & Poors. This was excellent news for Lincoln, and reflects the decades of hard work and sound financial policy practiced by our professional and volunteer financial team. With the best possible rating in hand, an initial $80M bond was put out to bid and eight offers were received. Citibank Global Markets offered the lowest interest rate, an average of 3.38% over the 30 year life of the bond, which is significantly lower than the percentage rates used in the tax impact models shown at the December 1st Town Meeting. Following are two ways of looking at the tax impact:

The table below shows the projected tax impact on different house values for FY20. It takes into account the proposed FY20 Budget (on which we will vote at the March 23rd Town Meeting).The graph compares the impact of the current scenario ($80M just borrowed @ 3.38% + an expected $8.5M bond @ 4% in 2021) to two prior estimates on a calendar year basis. For the current scenario only (light green bar), the graph includes the impact of the proposed FY20 budget.

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.

23 and We…

…Throughout the development of the school project, we have been focused on reaching an energy use target of EUI 23.  What does that mean, how do we get there, and are we getting close to our goal?

First, a refresher, what is EUI?

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) = The amount of energy (kBtu) consumed per square foot of a building. It is calculated by dividing the total amount of energy consumed in 1 year by the number of square feet in the building.

Currently, the school’s EUI is about 65. Why are we trying to get to 23? That is how efficient the building should be in order to be net zero “ready.” Then, the solar PV we put on the roof and over the parking lots will offset the electricity use of the school, making it a net zero building. We are on track to be the first net zero school renovation in the state!

How do we drive down electricity use? There are several main components: 

  • The building envelope: Highly insulated walls and roofs, and energy efficient windows.
  • Mechanical systems: All electric heating and cooling with a heat recovery system (see below to dive deeper into VRF and heat recovery systems).
  • Lighting: An LED lighting system that can gauge and adjust to the amount of natural light.
  • Plug load: How do we use the building? What are our electricity habits? This piece of the puzzle will require all of us who use the building to consciously consider our behaviors.

How are we doing so far? SMMA just ran an energy use model of the building at the Schematic Design phase. As of now, the school has a predicted EUI of 23.39! Energy models will be run again at the end of Design Development and during the Construction Documents phase.

Click here to see the slide deck from the February 13th meeting. It gives an overview of proposed systems and the energy model.

Do we still have your attention? 

What is a VRF system? What is a heat recovery system? Whether or not you are an electrical or mechanical engineer, this technology is pretty cool!

For those interested in the punch line, the goal of these systems is to create a consistent and comfortable indoor environment. They take into account outdoor temperature, solar heat load, and humidity, and can balance out different conditions in different parts of the building.

For those who want to know more…

While the details will be worked out over the coming months, the design team team is proposing some very interesting technologies for air quality, building comfort, and minimal energy usage to achieve our net zero goal.

Traditional heating and cooling systems are usually 100% “on” or “off”. For example, your house may clunk and creak when the boiler fires up, or lights may briefly dim when the A/C kicks on. In contrast, the systems for our new building will have “modulated” or “variable” operation: compressors and fans can run at partial capacity. The resulting system is quieter and more efficient, and can balance heating and cooling needs much more effectively (e.g. one classroom is receiving full sun and another is not).

Ventilation is another issue, as modern buildings are extremely well sealed. The design team is proposing “energy recovery ventilators” (ERV), a type of heat exchanger. ERVs efficiently transfer most of the heat from outgoing stale air to incoming fresh air (or the reverse in the summertime).

In addition, rooms will have sensors to detect occupancy via the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by people. That information is used to optimize air quality (through ventilation) as well as heating and cooling needs.

If Sustainability is Important to You…

…or you just love learning about mechanical and building systems, this is the meeting for you!

SBC Meeting this Wednesday! (February 13th)

7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room

On the Agenda:

  • Introduce the Commissioning Agent (person who oversees the execution of all the detailed work that must be done to meet our sustainability goals)
  • Review the Owner’s Project Requirements (The “OPR” is the document that lays out general and specific sustainability goals for the project)
  • Review proposed MEP (mechanical, electrical & plumbing) systems
  • Review the progress of the Energy Model (are we meeting our energy use target?)
  • Review updated site plan

More about Sustainability…

On February 1st, representatives from the SBC, design team, Lincoln boards and committees, and Eversource, met to talk about all the aspects of the project that fall under the “sustainability” umbrella: the draft OPR, the negotiation of a Power Purchase Agreement, stormwater treatment, and mechanical systems.  Achieving net zero in a renovation project is a cutting edge concept for public schools in the state, and the message from Eversource was that they recognize our efforts, and are willing to partner with the Town and the design team to support the project in some unprecedented ways. Representatives from Eversource talked the group through the kinds of rebates that may be available to the Town (see the presentation from Eversource here).

Here is a summary of the technical assistance offered by Eversource: