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.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Outreach Team wishes everyone a turkey-and-pie-filled, enjoyable few days!

We will be on hiatus for just a bit…and then you’ll be hearing from us quite frequently in the final days before the Special Town Meeting which is a week from Saturday!

A few links in case you’re trying to avoid doing the dishes:

Lincoln School Project Overview (this should have arrived in the mail along with the official Town Meeting warrant notice and a glossary of Finance Committee terms.

FAQs: Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

Finance Committee FAQs

FAQs: Tax Deferral and Abatement Programs

Click here to visit the Town’s page dedicated to the December 1st Special Town Meeting.  Lot’s of information!

 

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

 

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!

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