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 three 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 will now begin what is known as the Design Feasibility Phase. The Town submitted an application earlier in the spring to partner with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to help ease the burden on the town of three significant capital projects.
This is a critical time for all three of these projects. We will continue to post updates here on meetings and other information in an effort to keep families, community members, and staff informed about site selection and construction.
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9th Elementary School Site SelectionOn October 13, 2016, after a process that began more than four years ago, 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 two boards deliberated for more than two hours in the Brookline High School auditorium with each member taking a turn to explain in depth their reasons for selecting and ranking the sites. The public deliberations made it clear that there were varied opinions on each member's first choice but unanimity on supporting whichever site was eventually selected. The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted down proceeding with the Village School (Stop & Shop) site, while a majority of School Committee members identified the same site as their first choice. In the next round of voting, the School Committee voted in favor of the Baldwin School site while the Selectmen favored the Beverly Road site.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.The next stage of the process is a Feasibility Study which will be conducted by Jonathan Levy Architects between November 2016 and April 2017.
For a complete update on the 9th Elementary School Feasibility and Design Process including upcoming public meetings and the membership of the 9th School Building Committee, please click here or follow the links to the left.