Driscoll Renovation & Expansion - Overview

  • Driscoll Renovation and Expansion: Overview and Background

    Since 2005, Brookline has experienced historic enrollment growth in its public schools. The K-8 elementary schools have grown by 40% going from 3,904 students in 2006 to 5,482 students in 2017, which is equivalent to adding three schools into our existing schools in just over 10 years. For a decade now, the Town and School Department have been addressing the expanding student population by studying potential sites for a new elementary school and by adding classrooms to existing schools by dividing classrooms; converting offices, locker rooms, and hallways into classrooms; renting private buildings; and building new classrooms or adding modular classes. Despite adding nearly 60 classrooms to our existing schools through this “Expand-in-Place” strategy, the schools continue to be severely overcrowded.

    On June 13th, the Town completed its third study since 2013 on selecting a site for a new school. The Select Board and School Committee approved moving forward with expanding the Baldwin School, expanding and renovating the Driscoll School, and renovating and possibly expanding the Pierce School.

    Expanding and renovating Baldwin, Driscoll, and Pierce over time allows the town to address the enrollment increases in North Brookline and South Brookline while not overbuilding in either part of town. The Baldwin School will directly address the ongoing and expected student enrollment growth that is projected to add 375 more students within five years. Driscoll and Pierce have both grown by more than 57% since 2006, and neither school has received significant upgrades since the 1970s. The Baldwin and Driscoll projects are now in the Design Feasibility Phase. In the spring of 2018, the Town submitted an application to partner with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to help ease the burden on the town of three significant capital projects.

    To sign up and get updates about the Driscoll Building Project and upcoming events, please click here and follow the directions to sign up for the Driscoll School Building Committee Notify Me list. 

    To submit a comment or question about the Driscoll Renovation and Expansion Project, please click here.

    Driscoll Renovation and Expansion Enters Design Feasibility Phase

    With the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, the Driscoll Renovation and Expansion Project entered the Design Feasibility Phase. During this phase, the architectural firm Jonathan Levi Architects will conduct in-depth studies of the Driscoll School to identify the design option that fits the site and best meets projected education and enrollment needs. In addition, this phase will also entail the selection of a preferred design and preliminary cost and timeline estimates.

    The Design Feasibility Phase will include input from Driscoll staff and community members, in order to develop an renovated and expanded building that supports the learning for Brookline’s K-8 students. The cost estimates for this project developed during this phase will be the basis for the funding request that goes to Town Meeting in 2018 and the anticipated debt exclusion override to fund construction.

    What happens during the Design Feasibility Phase?

    • The goal of the Design Feasibility Phase is to identify a preliminary design for the renovation and expansion of the Driscoll School that can be feasibly built.
    • Jonathan Levi Architects will develop design options and the Building Committee will recommend a preferred design option to the School Committee, Building Commission, and Select Board.
    • The preferred design will include basic drawings of the exterior, interior, and grounds and allow for an “order of magnitude” project cost estimate that is more refined than the project cost estimate generated during the recently completed Alternative Site Study.
    • The Design Feasibility Phase also includes reports on traffic and transportation impact, geotechnical engineering, environmental assessment, engineering, a tree and environmental assessment, and a site survey.

    There is a lot of concern about the recent and ongoing growth of traffic in this area. What will be done to mitigate the traffic impact of the expanded school?

    During the Design Feasibility Phase, a traffic study will be completed. This study will include traffic counts during morning drop-off and afternoon pickup and an analysis of nearby intersections to determine the best way to address any increase in car and pedestrian traffic. As the Driscoll neighborhood knows, school traffic typically only affects adjoining streets for 15-20 minutes during the morning drop-off period, and has even less impact in the afternoon.  

    How will abutters, neighbors and community members in Brookline participate in this process?

    It is essential to continue the open and transparent process the Town engaged in during site selection so that residents are informed of, included in, and engaged with the process. They have a role in identifying a feasible design for the renovation and expansion of the Driscoll School. All Building Committee meetings are public.

    Additionally, the Select Board, School Committee, and Building Committee will hold public meetings during the Design Feasibility Phase. Members of the Building Committee and the Jonathan Levi Architects will meet with abutters during the process and hold public meetings at the Driscoll School. Community members can stay up to date by signing up for the Driscoll School Building Committee mailing list on Notify Me and following the Public Schools of Brookline on Twitter (@BrooklinePublic) and Facebook (Public Schools of Brookline).