Meeting Summaries - Baldwin School Building Project

  • Schematic Design Phase:  Jan. 2019 - May 2019


    March 5, 2019

    Select Board Public Hearing


    Building Committe Meeting


    February 28, 2019

    Building Committee Meeting/School Committee Meeting

    February 25, 2019

    Transportation Board Meeting


    February 14, 2019

    Building Committee Meeting



    January 31, 2019

    Building Committee Meeting


    January 17, 2019

    Building Committee Meeting

    At its January 17 meeting, the Baldwin School Building Committee received an update on the Schematic Design Phase schedule of work and upcoming meetings. Architect Jonathan Levi presented a design update showing more advanced floor plans and a three dimensional digital model of the school design. The committee’s discussion focused on access, community use of the building, and the open courtyards. Mr. Levi and PSB Project Manager Ben Lummis presented the staff and visitor parking options to the committee. The committee considered three options - 13 parking spots  under the building, 25 spots, and 45 spots. After discussion considering neighborhood impact, costs, impact on teachers and staff, and the building design, the committee voted to recommend to the construction of 25 parking spots under the building which would require identifying 53 parking spots for employees on neighboring streets. The request for 53 parking spots on town streets is 35 fewer than was originally planned for in Fall 2018. Members of the Building Committee will join the January 22 School Committee meeting to learn about Fossil Fuel Free design and construction and modern classroom design. 


    January 3, 2019

    Building Committee Meeting


    Design Feasibility Phase: Sept. 2018 - Dec. 2018

    December 4, 2018

    Building Committee Meeting


    November 29, 2018

    Building Committee Meeting

    Materials to be posted.

    November 28, 2018

    Capital and Schools Subcommittees Joint Hearing on Warrant Articles 2, 3, and 4 (Continued on November 29, 2018)

    Summary to be posted.

    November 27, 2018

    9th School Ad Hoc Subcommittee Public Meeting

    School Committee and Select Board Joint Public Hearings on Warrant Articles 2, 3, and 4

    November 26, 2018

    Neighborhood Community Forum

    Over 30 community members joined the Baldwin School Building Committee on Monday night at the Baker School Auditorium to present the selection of the preferred design (Option B - "Solar Harvest"). Building Committee co-chairs Bernard Greene and Julie Schriner-Oldham were joined by Superintedent Andrew Bott and Architect Philip Gray of Jonathan Levi Architects. During the 3 hour meeting, Superintendent Bott presented examples of substandard spaces and overcrowding at Baldwin and Mr. Gray reviewed the features of the Solar Harvest scheme, including improved daylighting, energy efficency, and rough sketches of the exterior to show how the building would be viewed from the street level. Mr. Gray also provided a summary of the preliminary traffic report conducted in October 2018. Following this presentation, community members discussed with the Building Committee concerns about the assumptions made during the design feasibility phase that suggested that the Baldwin location was a suitable location for expansion, and asked for more specific figures regarding the school's design, including building density and enrollment projections. Community members also suggest that creating comprables between the current Baldwin project with other sites previously considered in the 9th School Study, given the parameters that has drastically changed over the past two years.

    November 19, 2018

    Building Committee Meeting

    At their November 19th meeting, the Baldwin School Building Committee reviewed all three preliminary design options and unanimously voted to recommend Option B “Solar Harvest” as the preferred design option. During their analysis and discussion of the designs, members of the committee clearly stated that the Solar Harvest design was preferable because it will allow for more natural light and daylighting, present a less imposing facade to the residential neighbors to the west of the site, be more energy efficient and therefore have lower long-term operating costs. Educationally, the Solar Harvest design allows for more flexibility in organizing the PK-2, 3-5, and 6-8 grade level clusters, and provides collaborative space that is conducive to project-based learning.

    In terms of design, the Solar Harvest design provides a centrally-located “Main Street” that connects the clusters, classrooms, levels and common spaces, and provides for easy way finding for students, families, staff, and visitors. Superintendent Bott said that Solar Harvest best supported the Baldwin School’s Education plan because of the way the collaborative spaces are integrated into the design and included flexibility in how classrooms can be organized. 

    During the 2 hour 30 minute meeting, Architect Jonathan Levi reviewed all three designs - Option A or Quadrangle, Option B or Solar Harvest, and Option C or Twin Court - and shared his summary narrative of the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Mr. Levi once again showed basic drawings of the shape and massing of each design, preliminary floor plans that show where the primary common spaces are, views from Heath Street and the Baldwin School Playground, and rough sketches of the exterior to show how the building would be viewed from the street level.

    Committee Chairs Bernard Greene and Julie Schreiner-Oldham led the committee in a discussion of the evaluation matrix, comparing each design and how they measured up to each other based on the evaluation criteria. The committee discussed how the options primarily differ in design while traffic, parking, access to the site, and even preliminary cost considerations are very similar or even identical. Lincoln School librarian and Building Committee member Deborah Abner pointed out that the initial design of Option C’s library/media center was inadequate because it was located in the middle of too many other common spaces and could prove overwhelming for students via visual and auditoriy means. Solar Harvest was the clear committee choice due to its superior classroom organization, more useable open space outside of the building, that all classes will have access to direct sunlight, and the lower long term costs.

    During the second half of the meeting, Project Manager Ben Lummis presented the Project Roadmap and the committee discussed open questions that still would be addressed during the Feasibility Phase and the types of questions and information that would be addressed in the project’s Schematic Design Phase. This discussion centered on identifying more clearly where students live who could possibly go to an expanded and rebuilt Baldwin School, completing the traffic comparisons with existing schools, and completing the current traffic study. The Roadmap had examples of the level of detail and type of work that will be done during the Schematic Design Phase.

    The next step for the project is the public hearings leading up to December 13 Town Meeting to consider funding for the Schematic Design Phase. If Town Meeting supports Schematic Design funding the project will immediately move into that phase. If Town Meeting does not vote to authorize funding, the project will stop until it does.

    November 8, 2018

    Building Committee Meeting

    The Baldwin School Building Committee met again Thursday morning for to discussed their revised design alternatives of the Baldwin project. Co-chairs Bernard Greene and Julie Schriner-Oldham began the meeting by reviewing feedback recieved from community members during the Neighborhood Community Forum on November 1 and providing an update on the potential purchase of property on Oak Street to expand the Building site. The committee then continued discussions on the three revised alternative design strategies for the school and addressed feasibility design concerns regarding infastructure, community access, traffic, parking and cost estimates.

    During this meeting, Jonathan Levi Architects also introduced the Evaluation Matrix, a tool that allows the committee to rank and compare the designs based on various aspects of the design. Project Manager Ben Lummis concluded the meeting by providing a brief update on the Educational Plan and Space Summary, which was previously approved at a School Committee Meeting on October 18. The committee will look to vote on a preferred design option to recommend to other town boards and town meeting memebers on November 19.

    November 1, 2018

    Neighborhood Community Forum

    Over 85 people joined the Baldwin Building Committee and Jonathan Levi Architects on Thursday evening to discuss project updates on the Baldwin School Building Project. Project Manager Ben Lummis was on hand to provide a brief summary of the project and other information regarding the district's historic enrollment growth and the need for a modern, community-focused buidling. Architect Jonathan Levi was also on hand to present updates on the preliminary traffic study, refined design alternatives, and other building features unique to the site. With a projected enrollment of 420-450 students, the proposed Baldwin School would be the smallest school in Brookline.

    Feedback from community members included concerns about student safety, regarding the site's proximity to Boylston Street and Highway 9. Traffic flow also remains to be a priority for neighbors, who emphasized that the traffic study was not thorough enough to capture the scope of the Baldwin site and needs to be exhaustive and well-researched. Additionally, community members also cited a lack of transperency and questioned the validity of the materials presented in the meeting. 

    October 25, 2018

    Building Committee Meeting

    The Baldwin School Building Committee met on Thursday morning for significant updates on the Baldwin project. Co-chairs Bernard Greene and Julie Schriner-Oldham began the meeting by reviewing feedback recieved from community members during the Neighborhood Community Forum on October 17. Jonathan Levi Architects then provided a short update on the Program Summary, including a review of on-site parking at all PSB schools. Giles Hamm, Traffic Engineer with Vanasse and Associates (VAi), presented a Preliminary Transportation Impact Assessment on the Baldwin site, which included initial traffic counts, site comparisons, and project recommendations for consideration to the Building Committee. He concluded that a safe environment can be maintained at the Baldwin site and that traffic conditions will be manageable.

    The bulk of the meeting was spent in discussion of the three revised alternative design strategies for the school. Jonathan Levi Architects presented more detailed layouts that included maps of parking areas and classrooms, as well as visualizations of the building parameters. Additionally, the Building Committee discused the criteria to evaluate the success of the project, as well as preliminary cost estimates for all three design options.

    October 18, 2018

    School Committee Meeting

    Summary and materials to be added.

    October 17, 2018

    Neighborhood Community Forum

    On Wednesday night, over 40 community members met at the Baker School Auditorium for the first Baldwin Neighborhood Community Forum of the 2018-2019 school year. Presented as part of a “three-pronged approach” to solve the historic K-8 enrollment growth at the Public Schools of Brookline, the Baldwin site will be designed to include 2 classrooms per grades, with additional learning spaces designed for Special Education and English Learner Education (ELE) programs. The project will also increase the safety and accessibility of its surrounding areas - including the Baldwin School Playground - through the site’s necessary and overdue renovation.

    The meeting also focused on the upcoming traffic study and parking plan. Additionally, Jonathan Levi Architects have stated that the counts will be compared with a previous 2017 study, as well as projections done at the Lincoln, Runkle, and Driscoll Schools to ensure consistency. Preliminary reports are expected to be delivered to the Building Committee by October 25 and finalized by November 15. A potential staff permit parking program projected to provide 86 off-site parking spots for Baldwin staff was also presented.

    Community members from precincts 13, 14, 15, and 16 praised the project’s scope in developing a modern design space and shared project concerns, including the viability of family parking and drop-off, general student walkability, effects of demolition and construction on residential areas, and cost estimates. Finally, three preliminary design alternatives were presented for consideration by the Building Committee to move forward for the Schematic Design Phase of the project.

    October 15, 2018

    Transporation Board Meeting

    Summary to be added.

    October 11, 2018

    Baldwin School Building Committee Meeting

    The Baldwin School Building Committee held its second meeting on October 11, 2018. Co-chairs Bernard Greene and Julie Schreiner-Oldham opened the meeting with a legal update, noting that both the town council and special town council confirmed that the Baldwin School can continue to use the Baldwin School Playground site as a playground. Co-chair Greene also stated that the Baldwin School Expansion project will increase the safety and accessibility of the site itself, and reiterated that the expansion project will build within the existing playground site.

    The bulk of the meeting included Architect Jonathan Levi’s overall analysis of the Baldwin site and three alternative design strategies and layouts created for the school. Mr. Levi stated that all three designs can meet most zoning guidelines. The Building Committee is expected to discuss and investigate the viability of each design in the next few meetings.

    Mr. Levi then presented the space summary template that showcased the total number of classrooms and their relative sizes. Mr. Levi noted that in designing this summary he had incorporated feedback and suggestions from Public Schools of Brookline staff, including Superintendent Bott, members of the senior leadership team, K-8 curriculum coordinators, and other program coordinators.

    Mr. Levi also provided an update on the traffic report, noting that initial findings within the area suggest that there is not a significant change in volume from the counts taken in the previous study done in 2017. Mr. Levi noted that the reduction in school size may have a significant effect on anticipated school traffic.

    Project manager Ben Lummis presented a potential staff permit parking program for the Baldwin site. The proposed staff parking plan is projected to provide a total of 86 parking spots for Baldwin staff, and will be presented and discussed with the Transportation Board on Monday, October 15. Mr. Levi noted that parking can potentially be built under the school building if necessary.

    The next Building Committee meeting will be on Thursday, October 18, at 7:30 a.m in the School Committee room, and there will be a Community Forum for the project on Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Baker School.

    October 9, 2018

    Select Board Meeting – Public Hearing on Warrant Articles 3e and 4

    Summary and materials to be added.

    October 2, 2018

    Capital and Schools Subcommittees Joint Hearing on Warrant Articles 3e and 4

    Summary to be added.

    September 27, 2018

    Baldwin School Building Committee Meeting

    The Baldwin School Building Committee held its first meeting on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Committee co-chairs Bernard Greene and Julie Schreiner-Oldham provided opening remarks and introduced each member of the building committee.

    Project manager Ben Lummis provided context for the project and highlighted the historic K-8 enrollment growth in the Public Schools of Brookline over the past ten years. Ms. Schreiner-Oldham, Superintendent Bott, and Mr. Lummis all stressed how expanding the Baldwin School into a 2-section site will address the ongoing and historic enrollment growth and  rising student populations in both South Brookline and North Brookline. Ms. Schreiner Oldham reminded the committee that the Baldwin project is one prong of the three-pronged approach approved by the Select Board and School Committee after the Alternative School Site Study and numerous studies and efforts over the span of ten years intended to address the overcrowding in the town’s schools .

    Architect Jonathan Levi from Jonathan Levi Associates explained the design stages of the building project from feasibility through construction. Mr. Levi noted that a key component of this phase will be to incorporate input and comments from community members, prospective parents, and school staff throughout the design process. At this point, the existing timeline for for the project would be construction to be completed and the expanded Baldwin School to be open in Fall 2022.

    Mr. Levi also reported on existing conditions studies that will be completed this fall including an update on the existing traffic study with new traffic counts, a site study, and environmental site assessment.

    Before adjourning, Mr. Lummis reiterated that importance of a transparent and open process and the need for staff and community members input. The next Building Committee meeting is  Thursday, October 11, at 7:30 a.m in the School Committee room, and there will be a Community Forum for the project on October 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Baker School.


    The summaries below pertain to the 9th School Alternative Site Study that resulted in selecting Driscoll for renovation and expansion. For more information about the 9th School Alternative Site Study, please click here.

    June 13, 2018

    Joint Board Meeting to Consider 9th School Alternative Site Study Options

    The Select Board, School Committee and the Ad Hoc Subcommittee to the Advisory Committee met on June 13th to deliberate and vote on the options under consideration for expanding school capacity and addressing Brookline's overcrowded schools and historic enrollment growth. All members of the combined boards discussed numerous options at length. Among many issues, the members raised the need to identify solutions that are on town-owned land, that include renovation needs in existing schools, and address enrollment growth that is happening in North and South Brookline. The board's deliberation was the culmination of the 6 month Alternative Site Study which include more than 20 public meetings, the consideration of 20 initial options and 14 final options, six public listening sessions, public hearings, and the work of five town departments and HMFH Architects. This Alternative Site Study is a continuation of the nearly eight-year process of addressing Brookline's historic enrollment growth through site selection studies, enrollment projections, a feasibility study, expand in place efforts that have built 60 classrooms in our existing buildings, and more than 60 public meetings in just the last three years alone. 

    The question in front of the boards was to decide on a single site or a multiple-site option to expand school capacity and address Brookline's overcrowded schools and historic enrollment growth. After more than two hours of discussion and deliberation the Select Board, School Committee and Ad Hoc Subcommittee voted in favor of expanding and renovating the Driscoll School to become a four section school (four classes at each grade level); studying a Baldwin School that would have two sections and include pre-school classrooms, a district special education program, and a district-wide native language support program; and reaffirming the April 3 decision to apply to request partnership with Massachusetts School Building Authority to revnovate the Pierce School. As directed by the November Special Town Meeting vote, this decision means that the Town will begin a study to determine the feasibility of renovating and expanding Driscoll into a four section school and engage in a study to determine the feasibilty of Baldwin as a two section school with specific district programs. The School and Building Departments will also continue their efforts to engage with the MSBA to renovate the Pierce School.

    June 6, 2018 

    Public Hearing on 9th School Alternative Site Study

    More than 150 community members attended the Public Hearing on the 9th School Alternative Site Study to hear public comment on the proposed options for expanding school capacity, addressing Brookline's overcrowded schools, and our historic enrollment growth. The hearing was jointly held by the Select Board, the School Committee and the Ad Hoc Subcommittee to the Advisory Committee.

    Over 40 people spoke on a wide range of issues and in favor of a variety of options. Issues included the size of schools, how students should get to school, the need for renovations at Pierce and Driscoll, a single site solution, bundling a number of the options as a multiple site solution, the need for supporting a decision, urging the boards to continue to move forward, the costs of the projects to taxpayers, the need to preserve existing open space, and even thanking the boards for their work, plus many other topics.

    The hearing was streamed live by the Brookline Interactive Group. The link to the video will be shared here when the video is posted by BIG.

    The collected boards will meet next on June 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Select Board Hearing Room on the 6th floor of Town Hall.

    To review the presentation and other materials related to the 9th School Alternative Site Study, please clck here

    May 17 2018

    Joint Meeting of the Select Board, School Committee and Ad Hoc Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee - Presentation of Alternative Site Study Report on Phase I Options - After brief introductory remarks by chairs Neil Wishinsky and David Pollak, Special Assistant to the Superintendent Ben Lummis and HMFH Architects Principal Pip Lewis preented the 14 options that were studied over the last 6 months. Mr. Lummis summarized the complexity of the challenge the town faces because the ongoing enrollment has led to increased class sizes, inadequate core spaces, and leasing of classroom and administrative spaces. In addition, the Pierce School and Driscoll School both need renovation to upgrade and potentially enlarge facilities. Each option included a conceptual drawing, highlights and challenges, preliiminary project estimates for cost, and details such as size, number of new classrooms, parking and traffic considerations, and changes to open space and/or play space. After the presentation by Mr. Lewis and Mr. Lummis the board members asked questions and engaged in dicussion about the options presented and the process to select a single site or multiple site solution. The meeting ended with Chairman Wishinsky requesting that board members and members of the public suggest single-site or multiple-site solutions that they feel will address the needs of the town and schools. The boards will host a Public Hearing on the options under consideration on June 6 at 7:00 p.m. at Brookline High School. 

    Evaluation Criteria and Sheets for each Option

    Transportation Impact Assessments