• Summaries of BHS Expansion Project Public Meetings

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    September 29, 2017 - Building Committee Meeting

    The Building Committee for the Brookline High School Expansion Project held their first meeting of the 2017-2018 school year on Friday, September 29th at Town Hall. After introductions, Joe Naughton of Hill International, which is serving as the Project Manager, explained the key stages of the Schematic Design Phase and shared a timeline for each phase. Program and Space Needs Verification is underway and will be completed by the end of October. Design Development, including cost development, will begin in October and go until March. Starting in March 2018 and going until May 2018, the Schematic Design will be finalized and formally presented for approval to Town boards, commissions and Town Meeting. Next, Sam Lasky of the project’s architects, William Rawn Associates, explained the major milestones of the Schematic Design Phase and a recap of work that has been completed over the last month. Mr. Lasky described how members of the Rawn team held 30 meetings in three days at Brookline High School with staff, students, and administrators to help his team better understand the culture, strengths, and needs of the school. BHS Headmaster Anthony Meyer and Dean of Faculty Jenee Ramos thanked the Rawn team for asking thoughtful questions of the faculty that helped them generate powerful ideas about the future of the school and its campus. Mr. Lasky noted the meetings helped the Rawn team understand the importance of a unified campus that maintains a “small school feel” and fully integrates any new Cypress Street building with the entire campus. Mr. Lasky explained that throughout the entire Schematic Design Phase, the Rawn team will bringing design ideas back to staff and students to get input and feedback.

    The Committee also discussed related projects including working with the MBTA on building over the Green Line and the acquisition of 111 Cypress Street. Donna Camiolo of Hill International provided an update on the MBTA outreach plan that has already begun. With regard to the 111 Cypress Acquisition, Co-chair Nancy Heller explained that the Special Town Meeting in November will consider Warrant Article 4 on whether to authorize the acquisition of 111 Cypress Street for municipal needs including the possible expansion of the high school. Selectman Heller also noted that the Advisory Board, the School Committee, and the Board of Selectmen would be holding public hearings on Warrant Article 4 prior to Town Meeting.

    Co-chair Susan Wolf Ditkoff led a discussion about public engagement and keeping community members, parents of school children, and BHS neighbors informed and up to date on the project.  Ms. Wolf Ditkoff  reiterated that various Boards and Commissions--all with individual meeting dates and in some cases, votes--hold different pieces of the project. The School Department explained how it will use the district website, email, and social media to alert people of upcoming meetings, provide summaries of meetings, and continue to provide project updates.

    September 13, 14, and 15, 2017 - Architects Meetings with BHS Staff, Administrators and Students

    William Rawn Associates spent three days at the high school, meeting with various groups and holding a number of meetings. Mornings began with a coffee hour open to all staff for questions, and meetings were scheduled throughout day and into afternoon with teachers, program leaders, and staff. Rawn also had conversations and building tours with students to get their input on what works well in the existing high school buildings and what can be improved. During the three days, Rawn held more than 20 meetings with high school staff, administrators, and students.

    May 23, 2017 - Brookline Town Meeting

    Town Meeting voted strongly in favor of moving forward the Brookline High School Renovation and Expansion project into the Schematic Design Phase. The 216 to 1 vote to allocate $1.85 million allows the BHS Building Committee and architects further develop the design for Preferred Design “Option 4D”. This design will maintain one, unified campus for BHS by adding a 9th grade building on Cypress Street, creating a new Science and STEM center on the corner of Tappan and Greenough Streets, and renovate existing classroom and common spaces in the main building. The additions will help create a small school feel for 9th graders as they transition from our elementary schools, while allowing them to access arts, athletic, and upper-level courses across campus. Facility upgrades at the main building will allow for state of the art science facilities and enable integration across disciplines and collaborative spaces for all grades. BHS Building Committee Chairs Selectman Nancy Heller and School Committee Member Susan Wolf Ditkoff presented a strong case for moving forward and the current timeline for the project. 

    May 3, 2017 - Building Committee Meeting

    At the BHS Building Committee’s seventh meeting, HMFH made a short presentation reviewing the four design options and variations that have been presented at previous meetings. Prior to voting unanimously for Option 4D, the committee discussed a number of issues in detail which are included in the synopsis below. With the committee selecting a preferred design the next step in the process will be a vote at May Town Meeting for funding for the Schematic Design Phase.

    Detailed Synopsis
    The committee discussed related issues at length including:  the possible conversion of the BHS quad/courtyard into space that can be used during the entire school year; a proposed building on Cypress  Street; the importance of ensuring that any renovation fulfills significant portions of the BHS Education Plan; the need to accommodate the expanded demand for athletic facilities through improvements at Tappan Gym and Cypress Field; construction phasing; the complexity of working with the MBTA; and sentiments of the abutters. Discussion related to a possible building on Cypress Street addressed the range of possible programming options, the feasibility of building over the MBTA tracks, and existing easements on the property.

    In response to questions by committee members, Pip Lewis of HMFH Architects  explained conservative and preliminary estimates for phasing of the various options. Option 1 could be completed in 30 months. Option 2 would take four years and be completed in two phases with the first phase needing 30 months and the second phase taking up to 18 months. Option 3 would take up to 5 ½ years and be built in three phases; the first phase completed in 30 months, the second in 18 months, and the third in 18 months. Option 4 could be built in one or two phases. If Option 4 was completed in one phase it would take 30 months and if it was split into two phases it would take up to an additional 18 months. Mr. Lewis emphasized that he was giving conservative estimates on phasing at this point because of the significant level of design work that still remains to be done during the Schematic Design phase.
    The committee then discussed input received during the public hearings on April 26 and 27, during Brookline High School faculty meetings, and via the BHS expansion website. The committee reviewed the summary of comments made at the April 26 Building Committee Public Hearing, and Chair Susan Ditkoff summarized both the School Committee’s public hearing and the School Committee’s discussion of the design options. Headmaster Anthony Meyer and Dean of Faculty Jenee Ramos shared the input gathered recently at three meetings with BHS staff and another meeting with BHS administrators. In addition to describing the wide range of input from BHS staff, they also explained the necessity for additional and ongoing collaboration with the staff throughout the Schematic Design phase so staff input is heard, included in the process, and helps to shape the final design decisions.
    Superintendent Bott clarified the possibilities of what could be accomplished relative to the BHS Education Plan if Options 4B or Option 4D that create a new science wing are selected. Discussion then ensued about whether renovations to the main building as part of Option 4 could support facilities such as a new library, renovated classrooms, student support facilities, and collaborative spaces.
    The committee also discussed the need for a variety of processes that will have to go on in parallel as the schematic design proceeds including traffic and parking studies, the Parks and Open Space design and review process for Cypress Field, and eminent domain and site acquisition.
    Nancy Heller gave an update from the Transportation Board meeting and the discussion there about the upcoming Transportation Demand Management Plan that the town is starting. Discussion followed about any traffic study done by HMFH and how it will need to coincide and be aligned with any work done as part of the Traffic Demand Management Plan.
    Prior to a vote on selecting a path forward, each committee member had a chance to share their thoughts about the proposed options and explain any positives and concerns they have. The committee also reviewed estimated costs for each design option, which range from $105 million to $348 million.
    The committee voted unanimously to support Design Option 4D. Preliminary massing of this design includes a new building on Cypress Street, a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) building on the corner of Tappan and Greenough Streets, and additional renovations and improvements to the main BHS building. This option does not include improvements to Tappan Gym or Cypress field at this point. The preliminary cost estimate for Design Option 4 is $136 million.
    April 27, 2017 - School Committee Public Hearing 
    April 26, 2017 - Building Committee Public Hearing 
    Mary Ellen Dunn, Matt Oudens, Nancy O’Connor, Ian Roffmann, Bobbie Knable, George Cole, Susan Wolf Ditkoff, Nancy Heller, Dan Bennett, Nicholas Gerszten
    Selectman Nancy Heller opened the meeting by introducing the Building Committee members to the twenty-five community members present. Selectman Heller then summarized the work of the Building Committee to date. HMFH presented all four options under consideration, including preliminary cost estimates for each. After the presentation from HMFH, comments were made by the following members of the public:
    • Susan Vishner - 88 Tappan St.
    • Deborah Rivers - 175 Davis Ave.
    • Tom Clasby - 175 Davis Ave.
    • Nick Peterson  - 85 Greenough St.
    • Tom Nally  - 17 Cushing Rd.
    • Kim Kushner - 46 Hyslop Rd.
    • John Dempsey – 43 Brignton Rd.

    Summary of Questions/Comments raised during public input:

    • Concern about size of potential building on Tappan Street.
    • A five-story building would adversely affect abutters, particularly related to sunlight.
    • The anticipated large increase in volume of traffic, ongoing construction, and disruption to neighborhood related to construction are areas of major concern.
    • Question about timeline and process.
    • What will happen with Cypress Field? What will the process be?
    • Do any of the design options already include parking?
    • Concern about height of the building both at Greenough Street and on Tappan Street.
    • Option 4 seems to be the most economical, cost effective, best on phasing, and a good compromise, however Tappan questions do still need to be answered.
    • It is important to consider how to allow for as many of the Education Plan options within Option 4.
    • Need to consider how well each option fulfills the Education Plan, and will the Education Plan be evaluated in light of each option?
    • Heating and ventilation systems need to be addressed in the existing building.
    • Unease surrounding cafeteria (kind of "creepy"). 
    • Could the courtyard be used for cafeteria or other uses with a glass enclosure?
    • The UAB parking lot will look like a “missing tooth” and should be considered for an upgrade.
    • Easements at 111 Cypress need to be addressed and it is known to be a difficult lot to build on.
    • How will the operations of the building be addressed, particularly as it relates to Brington Road?
    • Considerations surrounding grade level access to the Cypress building from Tappan.
    • Will the Cypress building be dedicated to a specific grade or curriculum area?
    • What is the level of risk or possibility for excessive additional costs for land acquisition?

    Selectman Heller closed the meeting by explaining the timeline and next steps for the process, and announced that the Building Committee intends to select a preferred option at the next Building Committee Meeting on Wednesday, May 3rd.

    April 13, 2017 - Building Committee Meeting
    At the Building Committee’s sixth public meeting, HMFH Architects presented a new expansion concept and design options. Options 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D include a new 9th Grade Academy that would be located on Cypress Street and have additional renovations at the main building on Greenough Street. The 9th Grade Academy would include classrooms for all subjects, art and music classrooms, a cafeteria and a library as well as collaborative learning spaces. The main building options include building new science classrooms, and a range of renovations of existing classrooms. For sketches of these options, follow the link to the Option 4 presentation below.

    The committee discussed at length the value of a 9th Grade Academy and how well it aligned with the BHS Education Plan. Superintendent Bott and BHS Headmaster Anthony Meyer expressed strong support for the 9th Grade Academy concept explaining that it would allow for a better transition to high school for 9th grade students, would support a small school feel across all grades, and would promote the type of interdisciplinary education called for in the school’s Education Plan.

    HMFH presented preliminary costs for all versions of Massing Option 4, and the committee compared costs for all four massing alternatives that have been presented. HMFH also shared options for upgrades to Cypress Field and possible renovations at Tappan Gym including improvements to locker rooms and fitness spaces, a common entry with the Kirrane Pool, and a new practice gym.

    The Building Committee announced two upcoming Public Hearings that community members are invited to attend. Each public hearing will include a full update on the expansion process to date, a presentation of all massing options with preliminary costs, and time for public comment. These hearing will take place on April 26 and April 27 at Town Hall in the School Committee Room. Please see the Upcoming Meetings page to see the complete schedule of public meetings.
    March 15, 2017 -- Community Update Meeting  
    More than 50 community members attended the second  Community Update Meeting of the year for the BHS Expansion Project on March 15th at Town Hall. Superintendent Andrew Bott opened the meeting with a brief presentation for the need of an expanded BHS including a recap of the ongoing and anticipated enrollment increase at BHS. Headmaster Anthony Meyer summarized the high school’s Educational Plan and the work being done now to implement the plan ahead of the anticipated building expansion. Pip Lewis of HMFH architects presented the three different approaches to expanding BHS on the current site and  the preliminary cost estimates that had first been shared with the BHS Building Committee at the March 13th Building Committee Meeting. During the second half of the meeting community members asked questions of and gave input to the Building Committee members and HMFH. 
    March 13, 2017 -- Building Committee Meeting 
    March 1, 2017 -- Building Committee Meeting
    The Building Committee’s fourth public meeting took place at Brookline High School on March 1. Prior to the meeting, the committee members took an hourlong tour of the main building led by Headmaster Anthony Meyer and Assistant Headmaster Hal Mason. During the meeting, HMFH Architects presented drawings of massing models that show possible locations on the BHS campus where renovations and expansion could occur. HMFH shared six different approaches that will be considered. While preliminary costs were not shared at this meeting, the six massing models spanned the three different programming levels that HMFH presented at the February 2 Building Committee meeting. The meeting closed with the Building Committee rescheduling their March 8 meeting to March 13 and finalizing the March 15 Community Update meeting that will take place at Town Hall at 7:00 p.m.
    February 2, 2017 -- Building Committee Meeting
    The Building Committee for the BHS Expansion project had its third meeting and focused on the draft space summary that HMFH Architects has worked to develop through meetings with high school and district leaders and staff. The committee discussed the three program levels HMFH is using to create space summary options for a Brookline High School with 2,700 students. HMFH also presented summaries of the square footage required at each of the three program levels. The committee also discussed upcoming meetings and the schedule of public and community meetings. The current schedule of anticipated meetings is linked to below.
    January 12, 2017 -- Community Update Meeting on BHS Expansion
    Nearly 70 parents and neighbors came to BHS’s Black Box Theater to hear an update from Superintendent Andrew Bott, BHS Headmaster Anthony Meyer and HMFH Architects about BHS Expansion. Superintendent Bott shared data about the tremendous enrollment growth that BHS is now experiencing and explained the process over the past four years that has led to the current feasibility study. Mr. Meyer summarized the new educational plan that is driving design development. HMFH explained the steps of the Feasibility Phase that will lead to a preferred design being selected early this spring. School Committee members and Building Committee members attended and answered questions from the audience. 
    January 11, 2017 -- BHS Building Committee Meeting
    The BHS Building Committee held its second meeting at Town Hall. HMFH Architects went over the Feasibility Phase schedule and deliverables, reviewed the existing BHS site and discussed possible locations for expansion on the existing site. The committee also scheduled upcoming Building Committee Meetings and discussed scheduling additional public meetings. 
    December 7, 2016 -- BHS Building Committee Meeting
    The first meeting of the Brookline High School Building Committee took place on December 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the School Committee Meeting Room on the 5th floor of Town Hall.
    June 13, 2016 -- BHS Expansion Working Group Community Meeting
    The BHS Expansion Working Group  held a community meeting to share the current timeline and process for this expansion project, which is designed to prepare PSB for the rapid increase in high school enrollment expected in the coming years. Presenting were school and BHS administration and representatives from Symmes Mani & McKee Associates (SMMA) architectural firm. More than 70 parents and guardians came to the meeting, where after the presentation they split up into groups to go to four "break out" rooms where they could look at four options--expanding the current BHS campus, one high school-two campuses, two self-contained high schools, other ideas and approaches--and list the strengths and challenges with each one. Then everyone went back into the presentation room and talked about what their group came up with followed by Q&A. The process was inclusive and informative with lots of great ideas and comments throughout the evening.