By overwhelming majorities, Town Meeting voted to move both the Driscoll and Baldwin into the Schematic Design Phase. With the MSBA accepting the Pierce building project on Wednesday, Brookline’s Three-School plan to address overcrowding and substandard school facilities is on track. Town Meeting also voted in favor fossil fuel free school construction.
On Thursday, December 13, Brookline Town Meeting Members voted strongly in favor of moving forward the Driscoll Renovation and Expansion project and Baldwin School Building project into the Schematic Design Phase with the passage of Warrant Articles 2 and 3.
For Driscoll, the 216 to 4 vote to allocate $1.5 million allows the Driscoll School Building Committee and architects to further develop the design for Preferred Design “Option H – Modified Star”. This design will 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 are now blocked by the existing building.
For Baldwin, the 162 to 58 vote to allocate $1.5 million allows the Baldwin School Building Committee and architects to further develop the design for Preferred Design “Option B – Solar Harvest”. The Solar Harvest design allows for more natural light and daylighting, presents a less imposing facade to the residential neighbors to the west of the site, is more energy efficient, will have lower long-term operating costs, and provides collaborative spaces conducive to project-based learning and programming. Rebuilding and expanding the Baldwin School is the most cost effective way for the Town to add classroom capacity on one site.
Both projects were also passed with amended language that will make both schools free of fossil fuels during the construction process.
Driscoll Building Committee Chairs Selectmen Neil Wishinsky, Baldwin Building Committee Chair Selectman Bernard Greene, as well as School Committee Members David Pollak, Susan Wolf Ditkoff all presented a strong case for moving forward and the current timeline for both projects. Superintendent Andrew Bott was also on hand to provide support and answered questions regarding the district’s concerns regarding overcrowding and substandard spaces.
Finally, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) invited the Pierce School into the eligibility period. MSBA will work with the the Town and PSB to manage and fund this building project on Wednesday, December 12. This partnership will allow the Pierce School Building Project to begin development of feasibility design, including the formation of a school building committee comprised of Pierce families, staff, and other community members.