Overview of the 9th Elementary School Project
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The Town of Brookline first began considering building a new elementary school in 2008. At that time the School Committee chose to pursue an "expand-in-place" strategy and began adding classrooms to existing schools through dividing classrooms; converting offices, locker rooms, and hallways into classrooms; renting private buildings; and building new classrooms or adding modular classes. Since 2008 the School Department has added 56 additional classrooms across the town using the expand-in-place strategy. In 2011, as it became increasingly clear that ongoing enrollment growth would exceed the capacity of the expand-in-place strategy, the Town commissioned the first site selction study. Since then elected officials, town departments, and community members have been trying to identify a site for Brookline's 9th elementary school. This webpage summarizes the work done since October 2015. You can view meeting summaries, documents, and presentations from the public meeetings that have happened since Fall 2015 by following the links on the left of this page.
Current 9th School Alternative Site Study
(November 2017 - March 2018)
In November 2017, the ongoing process to build a 9th elementary school in Brookline restarted the site selection process. On November 14, Town Meeting voted in favor of Special Town Meeting Warrant Article 1 by a vote of 208 to 2 to spend $300,000 on further site evaluation at Baldwin/Pine Manor, Baker School, Pierce School, and other possible sites identified by the town or offered by land owners. The approved warrant allows for additional expenditures for further feasibility study should a single site or multi-site solution be chosen. This additional site study will be led by Dr. Joseph Connelly who will coordinate Town staff and contracted service providers to complete the necessary studies. The extended site evaluation study will be completed within 90 to 120 days. Please see our summary of the Town Meeting vote and related documents on the 9th School Meetings Summary page.
October 2017 Update
At a joint executive session meeting on September 19, 2017, the Board of Selectmen and School Committee voted independently and unanimously to expand the sites under consideration for a new (9th) elementary school to include the acquisition by eminent domain of an approximately seven acre parcel of private land on Heath Street that is owned by Pine Manor College. The Board of Selectmen announced this decision publicly at its September 26 meeting. This vote initiates further study and a public input process prior to any decision being made on whether to use this additional site for the school project.
The site under consideration offers the Town an exciting opportunity to create an extraordinary 21st century school that would incorporate the site’s natural topography and resources into students’ educational experience, while also preserving the land for desperately needed public use.
This decision follows the Town’s receipt of correspondence from the National Park Service in April 2017 stating that the Town’s acceptance of a modest federal grant to improve the tennis courts at the Baldwin site in the mid-1970s is considered to have permanently restricted use of the land adjacent to the Baldwin School for school purposes, despite the fact that Town Meeting acquired the property back in 1941 for school use. The Town remains open to the possibility of appealing this determination or replacing the disputed land with other eligible land at another site. This decision does not remove the Town-owned Baldwin site from consideration, and further study of the site is necessary.
Feasibility Phase Overview (December 2016 - May 2017)
With the final selection of the Baldwin School site as the location of Brookline's 9th elementary school, the project entered the Feasibility Phase in November 2016. Between December 2016 and May 2017, the Building Committee for the 9th Elementary School at Baldwin worked with Jonathan Levi Architects (JLA) to more deeply analyze site specific considerations including the size, configuration and location of the school, improvements to the Soule Recreation Center as well as traffic, access, landscape design and geotechnical considerations. Working with the School Committee, the School Department, the Building Department, and numerous town commissions and departments including Parks and Open Space, the Building Commission, the Recreation Department, and the Transportation Board JLA developed design alternatives and preliminary costs for the project. The Building Committee selected Design Option D as the preferred design alternative.The preferred design allows for a PK-8 elementary school with three classrooms at each grade and would serve approximately 650 students including a district-wide special education program and a district-wide language support program for English language learners.The school is organized into three grade span clusters (PK-2, 3-5, and 6-8) that are connected by two “learning commons” which serve as the central forum or “town square” of the school. In addition to modern classrooms, the school would have performing arts spaces, a library/media center, and collaboration spaces where students across classes and grades can work together. The school will have three gymnasiums; two for school use and one dedicated for use by the Parks and Recreation Department. Upgrades and improvements to the Soule Recreation Center include the new gym, a new environmental education classroom, an expanded turf soccer field, walking paths, and an enlarged parking lot. In addition accessibility to entire recreation facility would be upgraded to allow handicapped accessibility to the gym, environmental education center, walking paths, and fields.To see a short video of the initial design including interior spaces, please click here.On May 23, 2017, Town Meeting voted 182 to 31 in favor of a motion to appropriate $1.5 million to continue work on developing a preferred design for the 9th Elementary School. Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Neil Wishinsky and School Committee Chair David Pollak made a strong case in favor of moving the project forward. While this is a positive step, these funds cannot be expended and the Schematic Design Phase cannot begin until the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, and the town’s Advisory Committee receive additional legal guidance related to open space regulations and the Smith v. Westfield court case that is pending before the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, and another Town Meeting vote releases the funds. The vote does allow $100,000 to be spent to complete the Feasibility Study and do further design work. In addition, the Parks and Recreation Department has hired a landscape architect to do a peer review of the landscape design created by JLA. to read Mr. Wishinky’s remarks, please click here.The members of the 9th School Building Committee represent a broad range of constituencies and experiences, including parents, community members who live near the Baldwin School site, elected officials, and Town and School Department Staff. The first meeting of this committee occurred on Monday, November 30 at 8:00 a.m. in Room 103 of Town Hall. All meetings of the Building Committee are open to the public.
The members of the 9th Elementary School Building Committee are:
- David Pollak, Co-Chair – School Committee
- Neil Wishinsky, Co-Chair – Board of Selectmen
- Janet Fierman, Co-Chair – Building Commission
- Melvin Kleckner - Town Administrator
- Clara Batchelor – Parks and Recreation Commission
- Daniel Bennett - Building Commission
- John Doggett - Advisory Committee Representative
- Blair Hines - Greater Baldwin Neighborhood Representative and Brookline Planning Board Member
- Steven Brooks – Greater Baldwin Neighborhood Representative
- John Co - School Parent Community Representative
- David Gacioch - School Parent Community Representative
- Andrew Bott - Superintendent of Schools
- Mary Ellen Dunn - Deputy Superintendent of Administration and Finance
- Nicole Gittens – Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
- AC Sevelius – Principal, Heath School
- Ray Masak – Project Manager, Building Department
JLA will complete the Feasibility Study by May 2017. JLA has already begun the initial outreach and work with staff to develop the action plan, timeline and deliverables for this phase of the project. The timeline and process for the Feasibility Study - including all scheduled public meetings - will be posted on this website.
Email a question or a comment regarding the 9th School Feasibility Study.
To sign up for email updates about the 9th School Building Project, please follow this link and select Building Committee for the 9th Elementary School at Baldwin option.
To view the schedule of upcoming meetings, summaries of past meetings, and view presentations and materials to the Feasibility Study and Site Selection, please use the links to the left.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Board of Selectmen and School Committee select Baldwin School site for 9th Elementary School
PK-8 school will be Brookline's first new school in more than 70 years
Feasibility Study is next step in design processOn 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 Levi Architects between November 2016 and April 2017.
Final Site Selection DocumentsLeading up to the October 13 joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee where they are scheduled to make a final selection on the site for a new elementary school.
- Updated Traffic Memo submitted by Jonathan Levi Architects and Vanasse & Associates on October 7, 2016
- In response to School Committee and Board of Selectmen questions and concerns voiced at the September 22 Public Hearing, this memo revises the traffic report included in the final report with more detailed information and additional considerations for the Baldwin site.
- Memo on Enrollment Changes School Assignment Boundaries submitted by Superintendent Andrew Bott
- As part of the 9th School Site Selection Process, and in response to board and public requests for information about ongoing changes in enrollment, Superintendent Bott submitted an update on the process for developing enrollment projections and redrawing school boundaries to the School Committee and Board of Selectmen on October 7. This report includes maps of current enrollment and the change in PK-3 and PK-8 enrollment over the pasts five years. In explaining both the need for redrawing school assignment boundaries whether or not the town is able to build a new PK-8 elementary school, the memo includes 15 criteria that will be considered when boundaries are redefined.
9th School Site Selection Process - November 2015 to October 2016On October 13th, the Board of Selectmen and Brookline School Committee will select a site for Brookline’s new PK-8 elementary school. The site selection is the next step in the multi-year effort to address the ongoing and dramatic expansion of student enrollment in our town’s public schools. Since 2008, the town and schools have addressed our enrollment increases by adding 54 classrooms to our existing K-8 schools, and have commissioned three studies to identify the best possible location for a brand new school.
This September and October, the School Committee and Board of Selectmen will complete the most recent public input process that began in October 2015. Since October 2015 there were 20 open and public meetings where community members have been able to learn about, participate in, and provide input about site selection for the new PK-8 elementary school. In September and October 2016 alone, there were 5 more public meetings to provide the public with information about the sites under consideration and to get additional community input.
- Email a question or a comment regarding the 9th School Site Selection Process. Comments will be forwarded to the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee.
In May 2016, through a public procurement process, the town’s Building Department hired JLA Architects to complete a Site Selection Study to provide the boards with the information they need to make final site selection. The Site Selection Study began in June, and JLA will present its final report to the Board of Selectmen and School Committee on the evening of September 8. Between September 8 and October 13 the boards will hold additional meetings to discuss final site selection and gather more public input.Please see the meeting schedule below and please attend one or more of the upcoming meetings.
Date Public Meeting Time and Location September 8Joint Meeting of the Board of Selectmen and the School CommitteePresentation of the 9th Elementary School Site Selection Study by Jonathan Levi Architects. At this meeting public input will be collected through written and electronic means.7:00 p.m.Town Hall6th floorAdditional seating on 5th floor September 14Open House on the 9th Elementary School Site SelectionTown and School officials and staff will provide information on the 9th School Selection Study, answer questions, and solicit input from community members.8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.mBaker SchoolBeverly Road September 22Public Hearing on the 9th Elementary School Site SelectionThe School Committee and Board of Selectmen hold a Public Hearing to hear public comments on the 9th school. Written input will also be collected.7:00 p.m.Town Hall6th floorAdditional seating on 5th floor September 28Open House on the 9th Elementary School Site SelectionTown and School officials and staff will provide information on the 9th School Selection Study, answer questions, and solicit input from community members.6:30 p.m - 8:00 p.m. Pierce School October 13Joint Board Meeting to Make Final Site SelectionThe Board of Selectmen and School Committee will meet to vote on final site selection for the 9th Elementary School in Brookline.8:00 p.m.Brookline High School
Meetings of additional Town Boards and Commissions where they are considering matters related to the 9th Elementary School Site Selection
- Building Commission – September 13
- Park and Recreation Commission – September 13
- Advisory Committee (and subcommittees) – Sept 13, 20, 27
- Conservation Commission – September 20
- Planning Board – September 21
Enrollment Growth in the Public Schools of BrooklineSince 2005, the Public Schools of Brookline have been experiencing dramatic enrollment growth. Since 2005, K-8 enrollment in Brookline has increased from 3,896 students to 6,193 students, a 40% increase in enrollment.
Over the last eight years, the Town, the School Department, the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and other town bodies and commissions have worked together on the “expand-in-place” strategy to better utilize existing school space and add more classrooms. Since 2008, the expand-in-place approach has added 56 classrooms by: building school additions; adding modular classrooms; renting space for classrooms; dividing larger classrooms into smaller ones; converting hallways, locker rooms, and small rooms into substandard classroom spaces; re-locating administrative offices into rental space; and taking classrooms previously dedicated to BEEP, Extended Day, and other programs.
More Details about the School Site Selection Process since 2008Summaries of the public meetings since October 2015 can be found Summaries of Prior Public Meetings.For a complete history on the 9th school, please see the Brookline town website on the 9th School Site Selection ProcessEmail a question or a comment regarding the 9th School Site Selection Process. Comments will be forwarded to the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee
9th Elementary School DocumentsSuperintendent Bott's Recommendation to the School Committee for a 3-section "plus" 9th Elementary SchoolMemo on Redefining School Boundaries (10/3/2016)Draft Preferred Schematic Report