9th School Feasibility Phase - Summaries and Updates of Public Meetings
March 6, 2017 - Community Open House Meeting
On Monday, March 6th, more than 100 community members participated in the 9th Elementary School Open House at the Heath School Cafeteria. The meeting began with a brief introduction from Superintendent Bott and a presentation by JLA Architects, then moved into an “open house” environment in which participants visited “stations” on a variety of topics. The Open House format allowed for community members to engage in direct conversation with the Building Committee members, School Committee members, members of the School Committee, Jonathan Levi and Philip Gray from JLA Architects, traffic engineer Giles Hamm, Parks and Recreation representatives, and School Department leaders. Unlike a typical public hearing, the Open House allowed for more community members to participate, get answers to their individual questions, and create a better understanding of where in the process the project stands. The stations included the following: Design Alternative “A”, Design Alternative “D”, and Design Alternative “E”; Why Brookline Needs a New School; the Traffic Study; Soule Recreation Center Improvements; and Student Assignment. Community members were also offered the opportunity to submit written comments, as well as sign-up for electronic communication about the building project and future meetings.
February 28, 2017 - Building Committee Meeting
The Building Committee for the 9th Elementary School at Baldwin met on Tuesday, February 28th to continue discussing design alternatives. David Pollak reported to the Building Committee that, based on Superintendent Bott’s recommendation, the School Committee voted in favor of a 3-section PK-8 school that includes a district-wide special education program and a district-wide English language learner program. Taking into consideration community concerns on building size, future school assignment boundaries, and traffic the proposed 3-section school will add students geographically as a 3-section while having 100 fewer students than a full 4-section school. Mr. Pollak also explained that including the district-wide programs will help alleviate the overcrowding in at least two other K-8 schools while providing some cost savings and future flexibility. Following the brief discussion on the School Committee decision, Jonathan Levi and Philip Gray of Jonathan Levi Architects (JLA) presented three design alternatives: Option A, Option D, and Option E. While discussing these options, committee members raised questions about student drop off, car access to the site, and parking, and requested further details on traffic flow. During this preliminary discussion, committee members expressed support for Option D. Toward the end of the meeting, community members were also able to provide input, ask questions, and voice concerns. In addition to traffic considerations, the topic of student reassignment was also brought up, and it was noted that current reassignment criteria
can be found on the school district’s website. An “open house” format public meeting will be held on Monday, March 6th in the Heath School Cafeteria from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. so the Building Committee can continue to get public input on the design alternatives before making a final decision on a preferred design.
February 14, 2017 - Building Committee Meeting
The Building Committee for the 9th Elementary School at Baldwin held its fifth meeting on Tuesday, February 14th. In addition to the Building Committee, participants included community members, Jonathan Levi and Philip Gray of Jonathan Levi Architects (JLA), and Traffic Engineer Giles Hamm of Vanasse and Associates, Inc. Mr. Hamm presented the Traffic Study for the 9th School, starting with the “Traffic Impact Assessment” that included data on traffic counts, pedestrian facilities deficiencies, existing wait time and queue lengths and accident data. The presentation highlighted accessibility to the proposed school via surrounding roads and sidewalks, pedestrian improvement, bicycle considerations, transit usage, busing of students, a drop-off/pick-up traffic management plan, a construction management plan, and traffic monitoring (to be done three months after opening and annually). Overall, the qualitative assessment concluded that Baldwin is a good site for the new school. Discussion following the Traffic Study presentation included topics such as busing in Brookline and the ongoing collaboration between Parks and Recreation and PSB. The committee also took comments and answered questions from community members attending the meeting. The committee then scheduled a Community Open House to allow the public to have a full update on the project, engage in dialogue with the Building Committee Members and provide input. This meeting is scheduled for March 6, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. with the location still to be determined.
February 2, 2017 - School Committee Meeting
At their February 2 workshop the School Committee focused on
the 9th School at Baldwin and the Brookline High School expansion
projects. JLA Architects presented the space summary for a three-section and a
four-section elementary school that represented the rooms and spaces needed
based on the 9th School educational plan. Superintendent Andrew Bott presented his
recommendation for the number of sections needed in the school. The School
Committee discussed at length the superintendent’s recommendation and will discuss
it further at the February 9 School Committee meeting. (Note: The February 9 School Committee meeting was cancelled due to weather so the
School Committee will further discuss Superintendent Bott’s recommendation on
January 24, 2017 - Building Committee Meeting
On January 24, the Building Committee had its fourth working meeting. Jonathan Levy Architects (JLA) reviewed the three design alternatives the committee chose to pursue during the January 10 meeting. Discussion included the height of the proposed building, outdoor playspaces, parking options, and options for improvements for the Soule Recreation area. JLA presented preliminary costs of the three design alternatives. Slides of the initial designs, preliminary costs estimates and an initial evaluation matrix are included in the presentation that is linked to below. The committee also reviewed a proposed schedule for upcoming committee meetings and meetings with other town boards and commissions. This schedule is in draft form and is likely to change as this phase of the project progresses.Project Manager Ray Masak reported to the committee that on January 18, Vanasse and Associates, the firm doing the traffic study for the 9th School at Baldwin, met with representatives of VHB, the traffic consultant that is working with neighborhood representatives. At the January 4th traffic meeting that was held at Heath School, community members requested that the two firms meet and work together.
January 10, 2017 - Building Committee Meeting
The Building Committee for the 9th Elementary School at Baldwin held its third open meeting. The committee discussed five preliminary design concepts, criteria for evaluation of the designs. and the request for the traffic study data to be jointly reviewed by the traffic consultant hired by the architect and one hired privately by community members. Project Manager Ray Masak informed the committee that the town's traffic engineer and the community member's traffic consultant had exchanged dates and were setting up a meeting to collaborate. After Jonathan Levi's presentation on the five preliminary design concepts, the committee used the evaluation criteria to discuss and evaluate them. Discussion included the need for open space, the importance of building a "green" school that minimized environmental impact during and after construction, access to the site, and the educational merits of each concept. Committee members agreed that the architects should develop Concepts A, D and E further. You can see all five preliminary concepts in the presentation this is linked to below. Towards the conclusion of the meeting, Committee Member John Doggett suggested a new design approach that would be built primarily on Soule Recreation land and would require a driveway between Heath and Hammond Streets that would pass underneath the building and include underground parking.
January 9, 2017 - Community Meeting: Kickoff of Feasibility Phase
More than 170 people came to Brookline High School for the community meeting to kickoff the Feasibility Phase of the 9th School building project. Superintendent Andrew Bott opened the meeting with a presentation detailing the longstanding and ongoing enrollment growth in our public schools, how the school department has renovated existing schools and leased space to add 55 classrooms since 2008, and the impact of growth if a new elementary school is not built. Lead architect Jonathan Levi explained the work his firm will do during the Feasibility Phase and showed five preliminary concepts that the Building Committee for the 9th School will consider during its January 10 meeting. Mr. Levi also described the site analysis and design principles which will guide his firm's work including daylighting, creating collaborative spaces, building on a residential scale, and connecting the physical structure with the outdoors. 46 community members participated in public comment providing input and asking questions.
January 4, 2017 - Community Meeting on Traffic Concerns
Nearly 150 community members attended the January 4th meeting to hear an update on the traffic study being conducted as part of the Feasibility Phase for the 9th Elementary School at Baldwin. Jonathan Levi of Jonathan Levi Architects and traffic consultant, Giles Hamm presented, the scope, guidelines, and intended purpose of the traffic study that is underway. More than 40 people spoke and asked questions of the architect and the Building Committee members who attended the meeting. Concerns about safety, traffic, and the need for a transparent and open process related to the analysis of traffic were voiced repeatedly. Community representatives also requested that the data from the traffic study be shared publicly and with other traffic consultants who have been hired by a group of residents. For a summary of the public input please follow the link below. This summary has been shared with all members of the Building Committee for the 9th School at Baldwin.
December 14, 2016 - Building Committee Meeting
The Building Committee for the 9th School at Baldwin had its second meeting on December 14th. During the meeting the Jonathan Levi Architects discussed design philosophy, site design, site evaluation and design alternatives. The bulk of the JLA's presentation focused on five preliminary concepts which allowed the building committee to begin to discuss the whether a four section or a three section school should be considered. The committee also discussed community process and decided to hold two Community Meetings at the Heath School in January. The January 4th meeting will focus on traffic and access considerations, and the January 9th meeting will focus more broadly on neighborhood input into building and site design. The January 9th meeting is the rescheduled Kickoff Meeting that was originally scheduled for December 12 at the town golf course. The committee scheduled upcoming committee meetings to be on the second and fourth Tuesdays each month. The committee also discussed the need to file a demolition permit for the Baldwin School with the Board of Preservation due to the 18 month timeline for considering such a permit.
December 12, 2016 - Community Kickoff Meeting
This meeting was cancelled by the town's Deputy Fire Marshall due to overcrowding and has been rescheduled for January 9, 2017. It will be held at the Heath School Auditorium at 100 Eliot Street from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Site Selection Process
Summaries and Updates of Public Meetings Related to Site Selection for the 9th School
The site selection process that began in 2012 and was restarted in October 2015 with the release of the Civic Moxie Ninth Elementary School Site Identification Study concluded on October 13 with the Board of Selectmen and School Committee unanimously selecting the Baldwin School site for a new PK-8 elementary school.
Since October 2015 when the School Committee and the Board of Selectmen approved building a new 9th elementary schools as the preferred solution for addressing the overcrowding in Brookline’s K-8 schools, there were more than 20 public meetings to get input from community members about the sites being considered. Over the course of these twelve months the committees spoke to and heard from hundreds of community members as they considered more than 30 sites and looked at eight in depth. In February 2016, after gathering public input through open meetings, a public hearing, neighborhood meetings, and open houses, the boards identified three sites that needed to be studied further: the Baker School site on Beverly Road, the Baldwin School site, and the Village School site on Harvard Street that includes the existing Stop and Shop grocery store. Through a competitive bidding process, Jonathan Levi Architects was hired to do the site selection study designed to assess whether the three sites were viable locations for a school.
Below you will find updates, presentations, and materials from the 20 public meetings that occurred during the final site selection process between October 2015 and October 2016.
October 13 - Joint Board Meeting at BHS to make Final Site Selection
On the evening of October 13, after a process that began more than four years ago, including more than 20 public meetings over the past year, and input from hundreds of community members, the Board of Selectmen and the Brookline School Committee voted to select the Baldwin School site as the location for the town's new elementary school.
The boards held a joint meeting at the Brookline High School auditorium to make the final site selection for Brookline's first new elementary school in more than 70 years. The board meeting opened with a final presentation by Deputy Superintendent for Administration & Finance Mary Ellen Dunn Each sharing information about Brookline's continued enrollment growth. Architect Jonathan Levi reviewed the highlights of the completed site selection study and followed up on a few questions the boards asked during the September 22nd public hearing before answering some final questions from board members.
The two boards then deliberated for more than two hours beginning with each board member articulating their preferred site and explaining their rationale for how they ranked their choices. Before any votes were taken the chairs of the two boards, Selectmen Neil Wishinsky and School Committee member, Susan Wolf Ditkoff made it clear that the two boards would vote separately and would need to decide on the same site in order to move forward to the next stage of design. Discussion ensued about all three sites before a vote was called for by the Board of Selectmen on whether to proceed with the Village School (Stop and Shop) site. With the Board of Selectmen voting unanimously to not proceed with the Village School site, that site was removed from consideration.
The boards then voted again with the School Committee voting 6 to 3 in favor of the Baldwin site and the Selectmen choosing Beverly Road. Further discussion ensued with those on both sides expressing the importance of coming to agreement on one site and expressing flexibility on a final decision. A final round of voting affirmed Baldwin as the selection as a majority of both boards voted in favor of building a new school at the Baldwin School site. With both boards making a final vote to affirming the selection of Baldwin they brought to conclusion more than four years and three different attempts at selecting a site for a new PK-8 elementary school in Brookline.
September 28 Open House at Pierce School
On September 28, more than 100 community members participated in the 9th School Site Selection Open House at Pierce School to spea with elected officials and staff from the Town and School Department the 9th Elementary School Site Selection that will happen on October 13..
The informal Open House format allowed participants to speak directly to and engage in direct conversation with the elected officials who will make the final decision on a site on October 13. Representatives from Jonathan Levi Architects were also on hand to answer questions about the selection matrix and their concept drawings.
Site concept drawings, enrollment growth information, and the Site Study Selection Criteria were displayed throughout the Pierce School cafeteria at different stations. Participants chose which stations they visited and had a chance to ask questions of the elected leaders and staff members who were at that station.
September 22 Public Hearing
On September 22, more than 120 community members attended a public hearing, the 18th open and public meeting about the 9th Elementary School Site Selection. Ben Lummis, the school district's Special Assistant for Strategy & Performance started the meeting by presenting a summary of the public input that have been provided to the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee including more than 350 comments collected online and nearly 200 written comment submitted this summer and fall. Jonathan Levi Architects provided a summary of his firm's findings and conclusions about the three sites under consideration, and Giles Ham of Vanasse and Company presented his findings on the traffic, drop-off, pick-up and parking considerations at each site. After these presentations, more than 40 community members gave public comments, sharing their thoughts and concerns about the proposed sites.
September 14 Open House at Baker School
More than 80 community members joined elected officials and staff from the Town and School Department at Baker School for an Open House about the 9th Elementary School Site Selection on the morning of September 14th.
The informal Open House format allowed participants to speak directly to and engage in conversation with the elected officials who will make the final decision on a site on October 13. Representatives from Jonathan Levi Architects including their traffic engineer spoke to the entire assembled crowd to address concerns about traffic, parking, and drop off. The architects and engineer also answered direct questions from the participants.
Site concept drawings, enrollment growth information, and the Site Study Selection Criteria were displayed throughout the Baker cafeteria at different stations. Participants chose which stations they visited and had a chance to ask questions of the elected leaders and staff members who were at that station.
September 8 Joint Board Meeting - School Site Selection Study Report
On September 8, the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee launched the final public input process leading up to site selection for a 9th elementary school by having a joint board meeting to on the 9th School Site Selection Study. More than 120 community members turned out at this meeting to hear Jonathan Levi of Jonathan Levi Architects (JLA) present the findings of the study of the three sites under consideration: Beverly Road, Baldwin School, and Village School (Stop and Shop site).
Mr. Levi shared the results of the study comparing the sites across 38 different criteria and also presented broad cost ranges for all three sites. He shared again illustrative site concepts designed to demonstrate how buildings could potentially be placed on each site. During and after the presentation, Selectmen and School Committee members asked questions and discussed in depth their impressions of each site. Mr. Levi’s firm concluded that all three sites were appropriate for and had the physical capacity to support a school while also describing some of the specific complexities each site presented.
September 8 Site Selection Study Presentation
BIG TV video of September 8 Joint Board Meeting
(Joint Board Meeting starts at 1:01:50 of the video)
Memo recommending removal of eight sites from consideration at this time
8 Sites Removed from Consideration “for now”
Also on September 8, assured that the three finalist sites were viable, the boards considered a motion to remove other sites from consideration at this time. Each board held a separate vote to remove these sites from consideration at this time. In doing so, they were clear that these sites could potentially be considered at a later date.
- Cottage Farm
- Old Lincoln
- Isabel School and Larz Anderson
- Harvard Street Site (TJ Maxx)
- Centre Street (Coolidge Corner)
- Bournewood Hospital
- Pine Manor
- Putterham Meadows
The boards also announced additional meetings with Town Commissions and Departments where site selection for a new elementary school would be discussed.
- Building Commission – September 13
- Park and Recreation Commission – September 13
- Advisory Committee (and subcommittees) – Sept 13, 20
- Conservation Commission – September 20
- Planning Board – September 21
July 26 Joint Board Meeting - Update on Progress of Site Selection Study
On July 26, the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee held the 14th public meeting since October 2015 on site selection for the 9th elementary school. More than 120 community members attended and heard Jonathan Levi of Jonathan Levi Architects provide the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee with a progress report on the Site Selection Study. Mr. Levi provided preliminary ideas for how a school could be sited at the Baker Road, Baldwin/Soule, and Brookline Village sites. The meeting was broadcast live on BIG TV.
June 14 Public Meeting to Kick Off Site Selection Study
More than 100 community members attended the public meeting to kick off the 9th School Site Selection Study. Community members packed the School Committee room and overflowed into the hallways to hear the the 9th Elementary School Site Selection Study kickoff meeting. Jonathan Levi Architects (JLA), the architectural firm doing the site study, gathered input from the public on the three sites being studied this spring/summer. Community members voiced their strong desire keep the Stop & Shop grocery located at the Village Site that is being studied.More than 30 community members spoke during the evening. The community involvement and input was welcomed, and the School Committee and JLA listened to many of the community's concerns and comments and took written statements and questions that did not get voiced that night.
June 7 Joint Board Meeting on the 9th Elementary School
The Board of Selectmen and the School Committee received an update on the Site Selection Study that is starting and reviewed the timeline for selecting a site in October 2016 for a 9th K-8 elementary school. Nearly 50 community members attended this meeting.
May 18 2016 Community Meeting at Pierce School Auditorium
More than 100 parents, guardians, and residents attended the May 18 public hearing at Pierce School on building a 9th elementary school. The meeting informed people of three sites needing further study over the spring/summer in order to come up with a decision in October on one site to move into a feasibility study phase. Please see more information on the meeting and view the presentation here, and Brookline Interactive Group coverage here.
March 16th Update
The Park & Recreation Commission held a public hearing on March 15th at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall on sites being considered for the 9th elementary school. The meeting included discussion of public school needs, park and recreation needs, and sites in South Brookline that are under consideration including the Baldwin School, Baker School and the Putterham Meadows Golf Course.
March 8th Update
During the past two weeks at separate meetings, the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the Advisory Committee all voted unanimously to proceed with the process for the 9th Elementary School and Brookline High School renovation and expansion without submitting a Statement of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority to allow for more flexibility in the design processes and the timelines for the projects.
Town Counsel has provided a second memo and and additional documentation relative to Article 97for sites being considered for the 9th elementary school including Putterham Meadows Golf Course. The January 21 memo regarding regarding Article 97 considerations in the document linked here.
February 5th Update
The School Committee’s Capital Subcommittee met on Thursday, February 4th, followed by a joint meeting of the School Committee and Board of Selectmen, and discussed next steps in the search for a site on which to build a ninth K-8 elementary school. The outcome of the joint board meeting was a decision to move ahead with a study of three sites to be funded out of the classroom capacity CIP budget - the Beverly Road site, the Baldwin School site, and the Village School (or Stop and Shop site) in Brookline Village. In parallel, work will continue on several other fronts including legal, enrollment projections, and meetings with other town boards, community groups, and land owners. No formal vote was taken with the understanding that this decision served as a "first reading” and that there will be further process and confirmation once a more defined scope of work for the studies has been defined in an RFP.
January 21, 2016 Update
Tonight the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee discussed an update on sites under consideration for a 9th elementary school. Interim Superintendent Joe Connelly provided an update on the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s decision on the district’s Statement of Interest for the renovation and expansion of Brookline High School. Economic Development Director Kara Brewton presented additional detail on the six sites identified by the November 2015 Civic Moxie study Ms. Brewton also updated the boards on the potential consideration of sites in South Brookline including Baker School and Pine Manor College. In addition the boards discussed a memo from town legal counsel Joslin Murphy regarding Article 97 considerations. Timelines for selecting finalist sites were discussed and the boards intend to meet again in early February.
December 15, 2015 Update
On December 15th, the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee held a joint meeting on the 9th Elementary School Study. The boards discussed the significant and varied input they have heard from community members over the past two months. Economic Development Director Kara Brewton presented a summary of the comments and suggestions captured from two Open Houses, the December 3rd Public Hearing, hundreds of emails, and meetings with the Advisory Committee, the Preservation Commission, the Parks and Open Space Commission, the Conservation Commission, and numerous neighborhood groups. Interim Superintendent of Schools Joe Connelly presented slides on Brookline's continued enrollment growth and the impact on existing schools of not building a 9th elementary school. Nearly 100 residents attended the two-hour meeting. The boards will be scheduling another joint meeting in January.
December 3, 2015 Update
On December 3, the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee held a public hearing on the 9th Elementary School Study. The board released the timeline for the full process for further studying finalist sites. More than 150 residents attended and heard comments from 52 Brookline citizens.
October and November 2016
On the evening of October 22, 2016, the Brookline School Committee and Board of Selectmen reviewed the Ninth Elementary School Site Identification Study and discussed the need for a new school. At this meeting both boards separately voted on and approved the following two motions:
- Construction of a ninth school is the preferred solution to addressing continued enrollment growth in elementary grades in the Brookline Public Schools. Staff is directed to conduct further planning and analysis in support of this decision.
- Staff is directed to focus their efforts for additional due diligence and analysis, at this time, on the following two sites identified in the Ninth Elementary School Site Identification Study: Cottage Farm and the Isabel School.
To help fully inform as many community members as possible, members of the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee as well as staff from the Public Schools and Planning and Community Development Department decided to hold additional meetings and open houses. All members of the public are encouraged to attend these sessions to learn more about the possibility of new elementary school in Brookline and have your questions answered. The schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, November 3rd: Public Health Building, Denny Room, 6-9 p.m.
11 Pierce Street Lower Level
Open-House Format, including School/Building/Planning Staff and Board/Committee members
Thursday, November 12th: Town Hall, 5th Floor School Committee Room, 7-9 a.m.
333 Washington Street
Open-House Format, including School/Building/Planning Staff and Board/Committee members
Thursday, December 3rd: Town Hall, 6th Floor Selectmen's Hearing Room, 7:30 p.m.
333 Washington Street
Public Hearing Format
Tuesday, December 15th: Town Hall, 6th Floor Selectmen's Hearing Room, 6:00 p.m.
333 Washington Street
Joint Meeting of the Board of Selectmen and School Committee
(meeting is being held during the regularly scheduled Board of Selectmen meeting)