To the editor:
“Community Center Preliminary Planning and Design Committee”—with a name like that, we can’t help but succeed in our mission to bring a preliminary design to the town for consideration when discussing the current state of and future goals for the Ballfield Road campus. The townfolk spoke and the town representatives heard you: there should be collaboration between any and all committees striving to improve the nature and service of the Ballfield Road buildings.
But let’s start with introductions. Your CCPPDC members are Owen Beenhouwer, Sarah Chester, Doug Crosby, Jonathan Dwyer (for the Board of Selectmen), Steve Gladstone, Margit Griffith (vice chair, Parks and Recreation Commission), Eric Harris, Ellen Meyer Shorb (chair), Dilla Tingley, Town Administrator Tim Higgins, Director of Council on Aging Carolyn Bottum, and Director of Parks and Recreation Dan Pereira.
We have been tasked with providing the town with a community center design on the Ballfield Road campus in answer to the Lincoln community’s desire for a cohesive, cost-effective and community-spirited plan for Lincoln. We hope to provide enough information to help answer questions such as:
- What is the realistic cost of a serviceable community center?
- What does a community center do differently from other town spaces, and why is this important? (Much of this already addressed by prior studies, and we’re happy to review.)
- Is it feasible and fiscally responsible to build the school and community center simultaneously or sequentially?
- Can/should the same architect and/or construction company build both?
- May the school and community center be built at the same time, or does the school need to keep current Hartwell buildings intact for alternate classrooms during the school build? Or are there other factors?
…and we hope to answer the questions you and we don’t know about yet!
The CCPPDC met a few times over the summer and has opened the request for quotes from architectural firms to work with us, reviewed their quotes, and is scheduling interviews. Our next step will be to choose a firm with which to work and to introduce them to you, the School Building Committee (SBC) and the architect they have chosen (if different)… which leads to a first response to the question “can we use the same architect?”
Well, yes and no. School buildings are very specialized structures and the architectural firms who design them tend to be quite focused on just that type of building. An architectural firm that promises they can do anything from a storage shed to a 20-story building probably isn’t the firm we’re hoping will design our next school building. Similarly, community centers tend to be a bit of a different creature and some firms make these designs their specialty. The SBC and CCPPDC have made it very clear to all parties that this is a collaborative effort by our two groups and we are requiring similar collaboration if the selected firms are different.
You will be hearing from the CCPPDC as we progress. You are always welcome to attend our open meetings and we hope to have a few community feedback events as plans develop. We will be at the SBC visioning meetings on October 3 and 17—will you? Once a month, a joint update will be provided by the SBC and CCPPDC, and you will likely see brief updates about one committee in the updates from the other. We’re also working on a CCPPDC page on the town website and hope to make more informative very soon.
Margit Griffith on behalf of the CCPPD
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