Driscoll School Building Project - Overview
November 2019 Update
On October 29, the Brookline Select Board voted in favor of putting the Driscoll School Building Project on a town-wide ballot on Tuesday, December 10. This decision is the next step in the process to fund the construction of a new Driscoll School.
At their Annual Fall Meeting, Town Meeting Members will consider and vote to authorize funds for the construction process. Brookline voters will then have the opportunity to approve this funding through the ballot.
As currently configured, the building project would rebuild and expand the current Driscoll School into a 4-section building (i.e., 4 classrooms per grade level), provide additional learning spaces for special education programs, and increase outdoor playspace by 24,500 square feet.
Over the next few weeks, the Public Schools of Brookline will present more information on the final design of the Driscoll School to Town Meeting Members and the general public.
Driscoll Schematic Design Phase Nearing Completion
With the release of final schematic design plans and refined construction cost and project cost estimates, the Schematic Design Phase for the renovated and expanded Driscoll School is nearing completion. During the week of February 25, the Driscoll School Building Committee and the School Committee reviewed the final schematic design and cost estimates in separate meetings. On March 5, 2019, the Select Board reviewed the building plans and cost estimates and held a public hearing on whether funding for the Driscoll School Building Project should be put on the Town-wide ballot.
The Building Committee will host a community meeting on March 20 at the Driscoll School at 6:30 p.m. for community members to get a full update on the project and provide public input. For the schedule of all public meetings, please go to Upcoming Public Meetings page.
- Final Schematic Design for Driscoll School - Presentation including Project Cost Estimate (Presented to the Select Board on March 5, 2019)
Driscoll School Renovation and Expansion Project enters Schematic Design Phase
In December 2018, Town Meeting voted strongly in favor of moving forward the Driscoll School Renovation and Expansion project into the Schematic Design Phase. The 216 to 4 vote to allocate $1.5 million to the project allows the Driscoll School Building Committee and architects to further develop the preferred design “Option H – Modified Star”.
Starting in January 2019, the Driscoll School Renovation and Expansion Project has entered the Schematic Design Phase. During this phase, the architectural firm Jonathan Levi Architects will develop designs for the exterior facade of the new building, the layout of the building’s technical systems such as electrical and plumbing, and provide more detailed cost estimates and floor plans. The Schematic Design Phase will also include input from Driscoll staff and community members, in order to develop a modern learning environment that best supports the Driscoll neighborhood. The cost estimates developed during this phase will also be the basis for the funding request that goes to Town Meeting in Spring 2019 and the anticipated debt exclusion override to fund construction.
- September 2018: Design Feasibility Phase Begins
- November 2018: Cost Estimates and Preferred Design Finalized and shared with Town Boards and Community Members
- December 2018: Town Meeting Vote on Schematic Design Funding
- January 2019: Schematic Design Phase Begins
- March 2019: Schematic Design Phase Complete
- Spring 2019: Town Wide Referendum Vote
- May 2019: Town Meeting Vote
- Spring 2020: Technical Drawings Complete
- Summer 2020: Demolition/Construction Commences
- Summer 2022: Complete Faculty and Staff Occupancy
- Fall 2022: Complete Student Occupancy
Driscoll School Building Committee Recommends the “Modified Star” Design as the Preferred Option
After working throughout the fall, the Driscoll School Building Committee has selected a preferred design option for the Driscoll School Building Project. Identifying these preferred designs is an essential step in the three-school, a town-wide solution that will address the overcrowding and sub-standard learning spaces in the Public Schools of Brookline and begin to remedy the historic enrollment increases the Town has experienced for more than 10 years.
On November 15, the Driscoll School Building Committee selected Option H as the preferred design over three other designs. The committee identified Option H, known as the “Modified Star Design,” as the best option for many reasons including that it provides the best and most flexible arrangement of classrooms, increases useable play space by 20,000 square feet, and allows for the most daylighting of all the four options. The new building will be all new construction, replacing the existing building. It will be reoriented onto Washington Street, allowing the site’s open space to be more fully integrated into the residential neighborhood of Westbourne Terrace, Bartlett Street, and Bartlett Crescent and opening up the views of those who live on Westbourne Terrace which is now blocked by the existing building.
Click on the links below for more information. For a full list of presentations and studies, click here:
- DRAFT Feasibility Report
- DRAFT Feasibility Report Appendix
- Facility Needs Overview
- Final Traffic Report
- Project Timeline (12/2018)
- Preferred Design Option Presentation
- Enrollment Update from Superintendent Bott
- Overcrowding and Substandard Spaces in K-8 Schools Memo
- How Baldwin and Driscoll addresses Overcrowding and Substandard Spaces
- Project Evaluation, Architect's Narrative
- Driscoll School FINAL DRAFT Space Summary
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).