Putting the Pieces Together – This Week is “All School All the Time”!

We’ve talked a lot about the complexity of the Lincoln School project – this week multiple Town boards and committees have the project on their agendas. Each will dive into the details as seen through the lens of their committee’s charge.  On Thursday, many boards will meet together to try to understand how all the pieces of the project are fitting into place. Please join us – All the meetings are open to the public! Find more information at www.lincolntown.org and www.lincolnsbc.org    

Monday, October 15th:

  • Board of Selectmen, 6:30pm, Donaldson Room, Town Offices
  • Parks & Recreation (PRD) Committee, 7:00pm, Hartwell PodA, Ballfield Road
  • Capital Planning Committee, 7:30pm, Selectmen’s Office, Town Offices

Tuesday, October 16th:

  • Finance Committee, 7:30pm, Donaldson room, Town Offices
    • Cash flow estimates and bond strategies
    • Solar arrays for the school: capital expenditure vs. power purchase agreement
    • Use of stabilization funds

Wednesday, October 17th: 

  • School Building Committee, 7:00pm, Hartwell Multipurpose Room, Ballfield Road
    • Continue value-engineering process
    • Prepare for October 20th State of the Town

Thursday, October 18th:

  • MULTI BOARD MEETING, 7:00pm, Hartwell PodB, Ballfield Road.
  • On the Agenda:
    • Update on the project’s scope of work and cost estimates.
    • Finance Committee update
    • Other funding sources? Grants? Green energy credits or rebates?
    • Develop a list of questions that need to be answered by boards/committees before December 1st – assign questions to the relevant committee

FridayNO MEETINGS! 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20th: 

  • SPECIAL TOWN MEETING & STATE OF THE TOWN!
  • 9:00am – 12:30pm, Auditorium

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Engaging with Our Neighbors

  • December 1stSpecial Town Meeting
  • December 3rdBallot Vote

The votes to fund the school project are fast approaching! Do you and your friends and neighbors want to learn more? Would you be willing to host an information session? 

The SBC wants to come to your neighborhood to share information and answer questions about the project! If you’re willing to gather some friends and neighbors in your home for an hour or so in November, members of the SBC will run an informal conversation about the project. To schedule a time, please contact Kim Bodnar at kimbodnar1007@gmail.com.

Inspiring Future Architects…

A Lincoln School student sat in on a recent SBC meeting.  How did he spend his time? He drew his ideal floor plan while listening to the discussion about the central dining and learning commons! We thank him for his willingness to share his drawing – click here to see it!

Value Engineering – Part 1

Cost Estimate Overview
On September 26th, the SBC received the draft preliminary cost estimates from two independent estimators: The two total project cost estimates came in at $102M and $109M, well above our target budget of $93.9M. After that meeting, the estimators, our design team, and our Owner’s Project Manager met to reconcile the two draft estimates to ensure they were comparing the same scope, materials, and quantities. This past Wednesday, the SBC presentation outlined the reconciled, detailed cost estimates: one went up and one came down, and each estimate is currently about $104M. This is better, but we still have our work “cut out” to remove, scale back and/or trade off items to fit within our budget.

The chart below shows the total project budget broken down into 7 broad categories. As you can see, the building renovation/additions costs came in as expected. There were two big categories that account for most of the delta between the current cost estimates and the conceptual cost estimates we saw in June: Site work and temporary classrooms.

“Curb Appeal”
In that same meeting, our project team presented a list of possible items (link here) that could be eliminated or scaled back. While the SBC made some progress removing items, the real work (and dollars) requires understanding tradeoffs that can’t be resolved in just one night, and understanding how eliminating up-front cost impacts long-term value. Here are some examples:

  • Defer vs. Replace: If we defer replacing the Reed Gym roof (which is about 9 years old), will that existing roof support the planned solar equipment? And is the existing roof currently insulated well enough to meet our overall energy goals
  • Temporary Modular Classroom Units – Unlike all of our neighboring towns, we don’t have several different school & municipal buildings to accommodate temporary arrangements. We need approximately 30 classrooms for students during the two construction phases, and those units must meet all current code and safety requirements (ADA access, sprinkler systems, etc.)
  • Site Work: Some site costs are driven by the constraints of our situation, such as the need to restore playing fields after housing modular classrooms for three years. Other items are savings vs. value decisions that we need to figure out. Do we want less expensive “cape cod berms”, asphalt-formed curbs that wear out over time? Or, do we prefer more expensive granite curbs that last virtually forever after many, many snow plow scrapes?

 

 

 

 

All Hands on Deck!
Residents should know that it is not just the SBC that is engaged in the Lincoln School project. The Schools and the Town are in continuous communication, and the Town administration is supporting the project in a number of ways. At the October 3rd meeting, Tim Higgins, Town Administrator, assured the SBC that the Schools and the Town are each doing their part, and gave an overview of how the Town has been planning for this project:

  • Alternative Funding Possibilities: The Town is researching a number sources of funding that could help with pieces of the project such as Community Preservation Act funds for outdoor recreational facilities, Chapter 90 state roadway funds, “Complete Streets” state grants, and the Cable TV Revolving Fund.
  • Sustainability: The Town is assisting with analysis of our photovoltaic panel options, and engaged a solar consultant who is doing an analysis of our purchasing and leasing options. It has also enlisted our state legislators to assist with research. Finally, there is a town by-law that was put in place that limits 3rd party power purchasing agreements (PPAs). The Planning Board is working on drafting an amendment that would allow municipal PPAs.
  • Financial Planning: The Town’s Finance Committee and Financial Director have been working to ensure we are ready to go to the bond market. Over the past decade, the Town worked to achieve and maintain a AAA rating.

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.

 

We wait…

…with bated breath…On Thursday, the schematic design for the Lincoln School project was sent out for cost estimation (here are the slides from the September 12th meeting which give an overview of the elements of the project). In keeping with best practices, the design will be evaluated by two different groups of estimators. The work will take about 2 weeks and we will review the preliminary estimates at the September 26th SBC meeting. Thus begins a two-part process. First, the two groups of estimators will meet to reconcile the two estimates. Second, the design team (SMMA) and our Owners Project Manager (Daedalus) will develop a list of items for the SBC to consider in the value engineering process.

As anyone who has done a remodel project knows, there’s a chance that these first estimates may come in at, below, or above the $93.9M cost estimate that was voted on in June. That’s a normal (if nervewracking) part of the process! The SBC then moves on to the next phase during which it evaluates costs and possible trade-offs among design, functionality, and features to stay within our goals and budget. These could be tough conversations, ones which require each of us to continue to compromise in order to achieve our big goal: a transformational renovation project that will provide spaces that support our educational vision in a safe, comfortable building that maximizes sustainability and honors the history of the site.

To read more about the schematic design process and value engineering, take a look at our June 6th blog post.

Upcoming SBC Schedule: 

  • September 26th SBC Meeting: Review preliminary cost estimates.  After this, the estimators meet to reconcile the two estimates, and SMMA and Daedalus develop lists of items to be considered in the value-engineering process.
  • October 3rd SBC Meeting: Review reconciled cost estimates; SBC begins the value-engineering process.
  • Further schedule TBD – We may elect to keep to our weekly schedule!

Thank you! To everyone who engaged with the SBC at the Back to School picnic, during the Brooks curriculum night, and at the outreach session hosted by the Council on Aging!

9/12 iteration of the Dining Commons

Getting Caught Up

On Wednesday the School Building Committee hosted two Community Workshop sessions. There was a great cross-section of the community represented both in the morning and in the evening, and we thank everyone for making time during what is always a hectic week!

The presentation focused on six main areas of the project: the floor plan (where are all the rooms?); the new flexible hub spaces in grades 3 – 8; the central entrance & Commons; the site (how do we make cars, cyclists and walkers all happy?!); sustainability; and phasing (where does everyone go while we’re renovating?) Click here to see the slides from the presentation. Video of the Workshop is available at www.lincolntv.viebit.com.

At the next SBC meeting on September 12th, the committee will sign off on the schematic design and send the plans to the cost estimators. This does not mean that all the design work is done – the details are fleshed out during the design development phase (which comes after the December bond vote) – but this current phase establishes the major design and construction components of the project.

Outreach Events: Couldn’t make it to the workshops? Take the opportunity to talk directly to SBC members at these two upcoming events:

  • Thursday, September 13th – PTO Welcome Back Picnic, 5:00 – 7:00pm, Codman Pool parking lot.
  • Friday, September 14th – Bemis Hall, 1:00pm

 

It’s Time to Go Back to School (Building Committee)!

Community Workshops: THIS WEDNESDAY, September 5th – 2 Sessions
• 8:00am – 10:00am
• 7:00pm – 9:00pm
• Both (identical) sessions will be in the Brooks (Reed) Gym

The SBC has been meeting all summer and a lot of work has been done. This is your opportunity to get caught up and ask questions before we send the schematic designs to the cost estimators!

What can you expect? The design team will present all that has been done to advance the “L3” concept we voted for on June 9th. Topics will include:

  • Floor Plans – Where are the grades? How are the hubs and the commons laid out? Where is the new kitchen?
  • Site Plan – Traffic flow, pedestrian paths, bike paths, parking.
  • Sustainability – What needs to be done to try to reach our goal of a net zero building?
  • Phasing – Where will students go during renovation?
  • Next Steps – What is the SBC working on over the next couple of months?

Please consider this a hand-delivered, personal invitation to attend one of the sessions! It takes a Town to make a school project successful, and we hope you will join us to learn more and ask questions.

– The SBC Outreach Team

“Heart of the School” & Phasing…

“Heart of the School”One of the main features of the “L3” concept chosen on June 9th is the creation of new, centralized, “heart of the school.” This area, which will serve grades preK – 8, will be created with a combination of new construction and renovation of the existing library. It will include the new dining commons and kitchen, the administrative offices, and the media center (aka library), and it will become an area of the school that brings all students and faculty together. The design team and the SBC have considered a number of design possibilities, and are continuing to think about the architecture of this project focal point.  Click on the slides from this week’s SBC meeting to see the latest thinking.

Where Will the Students Go?Another topic discussed at the August 22 SBC meeting was the phasing plan. Once construction begins, the project will take about 3 years.  As proposed, the first phase renovates the middle school, taking about 18 months. At the end of that time, the middle school moves into the renovated Brooks end of the building, and renovation of the elementary grades begins. Click on the link to the presentation to learn more.

NEXT MEETING:  WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29th, 7:00PM, HARTWELL MULTIPURPOSE ROOM.

On the agenda: Updated floor plans; updated exterior elevations; preliminary discussion of interior spaces; preliminary discussion about technology and furniture; follow-up on photovoltaic discussion; discussion of decision timeline from now until December 1st.