This is a Community Project

Over the past 19 months, the Lincoln School project has been forged by the willingness of residents with a wide range of values, priorities, expertise, opinions, and viewpoints to come together to try to collaboratively solve an incredibly complex problem. The goal of the SBC has been to create a process and a platform for individual ideas to be heard and to give direction to its work. In June, we presented 5 viable ways to move forward, and our community made a group decision, in an unprecedented way, about which project best balanced those priorities and delivered the most value for the investment.

At the end of that Special Town Meeting, an overwhelming majority chose the project known as “L3.” The clarity of the vote was due to the fact that many people, with many ideas, were willing to passionately champion their values while demonstrating their willingness to compromise; finding a balance among multiple needs and interests.

The result is a project that is a reflection of resident values; it is “ours,” as a town, in every sense of the word.

What did it take to get to this point?

When we started this process, many challenged us to go beyond a school that is “safe, warm, and dry” and to focus on transforming the educational environment. They noted that the neighborhood model of classrooms, which supports how our educators teach (with future flexibility), would be easiest to achieve in a new, more compact building – not one with classrooms strung out along a long corridor.

Many residents focused on the opportunity to live up to the green energy goals LIncoln set for itself a decade ago, when the town voted to adopt a fossil fuel reduction standard for its public buildings. They focused our attention on “energy use intensity,” the importance of a well-insulated building, new heating & cooling technologies, and the need to generate electricity on site in order to further reduce our carbon footprint. This would be easiest to achieve with new construction.

Others drew our attention to the deep historical ties the town has to the Ballfield Road site. It was the home of the Lincoln Mohawks baseball team in the first half of the 20th century, and where the town regularly gathered in the grand stands. The Lincoln School itself was designed by two Lincoln-resident modern architects, Lawrence Anderson and Henry Hoover. They helped transform school architecture by providing ample access to natural light, connections to the outdoors, and moveable (dare we say flexible?) furniture that wasn’t bolted to the floor. Many residents saw the important connection of the current building to our town’s history, and wanted to ensure that we re-used as much of it as possible and preserved the integrity of the campus.

The Lincoln School is an important center of the community, and many emphasized its role in our recreational and civic life. They placed a high value on retaining both of our full-sized gyms and the Auditorium.

And everyone wanted to ensure that the project would provide good long-term value for the up-front cost – while being mindful of the immediate impact on the community.

As is quickly apparent, it is not easy to reconcile all of these priorities – but there was a lot of determination! As a result of the creativity of our design team and our committee, and a high level of community participation in the process, we all decided that L3 did the best job of drawing all of those interests together.

On Saturday, we will come together to test that hypothesis.

We know that people will come to the meeting looking at the project through different lenses and their own set of experiences. While we all listen to the presentations and the ensuing debate, the following questions might serve as a framework:

  • What is the impact of our decision on future generations of educators and learners?
  • When we look back in 10 or 20 years, will we have made a wise choice?
  • Have we successfully balanced the values of our community? – Education, environmental stewardship, respect for our history and civic life, and fiscal responsibility?
  • What is the impact of our decision on other Town priorities?

Each of us may answer these questions in different ways. We look forward to a thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation on Saturday.

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

 

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.

Change of Plans…

…SBC adds an August 15th meeting to the schedule.

Looking at all that needs to be accomplished in August, the SBC has added an additional meeting on August 15th (7:00pm, Hartwell multipurpose room).

Here’s a rundown of what will be covered in the next three meetings:

August 8th: Looking at the outside!

  • Site Plans: Update and Discussion
  • Exteriors: Update and Discussion
  • Structural Systems
  • Review Meeting Schedule

August 15th: All about sustainability!

  • Mechanical Systems: Update and Discussion
  • Energy Model: Presentation and Discussion
  • Photovoltaic Plan: Presentation and Discussion

August 22nd: Covering it all!

  • Review Site Plan
  • Review Floor Plans
  • Review Updated Exterior Elevations
  • Phasing Plans
  • Preliminary Interior Spaces Review

We hope you’ll make Wednesday nights a standing date with the SBC…if you can’t be there in person, meetings are televised.