A group of us headed to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) this morning for the latest step in the process for a new Memorial School. The focus of this morning’s presentation was designer selection. Burlington has already selected a design firm – KBA. Kevin Buckley of KBA did an excellent job presenting the qualifications of his firm and the need for a new school. The MSBA panel responded positively to Kevin’s presentation. We believe that confirmation of our selected designer from the MSBA will be forthcoming.
If all goes favorably with the MSBA designer selection committee, the next step in the process involves defining the scope of the project. Currently, Memorial School houses approximately 300 students. Our enrollment projections plus the need to alleviate crowding at our other elementary schools defined the proposed scope of the new school at 600 students (about 85,000 square feet).
The MSBA has defined guidelines for programmatic space – i.e. 950 square feet for a kindergarten classroom – and a defined enrollment projection process. The MSBA has asked for us to provide information on how every other elementary classroom space is being utilized in the district. Clearly, the MSBA does not want localities to over-build or over-design schools as several communities have done in the past. In other words, they are asking us to justify the need to build a larger school than presently exists.
We did ask that the MSBA be mindful of the need for additional pre-school classroom space and that they take into consideration that Burlington provides space for regional programs as a partner in the LABBB Collaborative.
We will be providing this elementary classroom information and enrollment information in short order. Clearly a larger Memorial School will necessitate re-designating the school zones for each elementary school. The benefit will ultimately be less crowded conditions across all elementary schools.
In the meantime, the MSBA may ask Burlington to re-word the town warrant article from 2006 that funded the town side of the building project. The vote at town meeting reflected the MSBA language at the time. The MSBA has since changed their warrant language and we will respond to this new language. Our hope is to have the details with MSBA solved prior to the September 22nd town meeting.
Project Manager– CMS selected and approved by MSBA
Project Designer– KBA selected, but awaiting final approval by MSBA
Feasibility Study– Locally completed, but awaiting approval by MSBA
Local Funding– Locally completed, but awaiting new warrant language by MSBA
Scope of Project– Locally completed as part of the feasibility study, but needing to be redone and approved by MSBA
We are still hopeful of a fall of 2010 opening. We will have a better indication of a construction time line depending upon the timeliness of decisions by the MSBA in the upcoming months. The following links are pdf copies of the KBA presentation.