MSBA Approves Funding for Leicester PK-8 School Project

The proposed new K-8 school would replace three existing schools, consolidating school spending

The proposed new PreK-8 school would replace three existing schools and consolidate schools, pending a vote to approve funding this November.
June 5, 2020
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Published in School Construction News.

Finegold Alexander Architects and the Town of Leicester announce that that the Board of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (the “MSBA”) has approved the Leicester Middle School Schematic Design Study Project for the Town of Leicester (the “Town”). The goal of study was to evaluate the existing Leicester Middle School and determine the most cost-effective option for renovating or potentially creating a new school building. The study investigated options for grades 5-8, 6-8, or PK-8 on the existing Leicester Middle School site. After careful analysis and review, a new PK-8 school facility was developed through schematic design and was presented to the community and the MSBA.

The Authority approved an Estimated Maximum Total Facilities Grant of $41 million for the project.  The total project budget is $91,404,734.  The Town of Leicester will vote to put funding the balance of the cost on the ballot at a Town Meeting scheduled on Saturday, September 26th .If approved, this will be followed by a community vote to continue the project into full design and construction. This important decision for the Town’s residents will take place on Election Day, November 3rd  2020.

“We are thrilled to have reached this important milestone in the project,” said Marilyn Tenzca, Superintendent, Leicester Public Schools. “After participating in an extensive community visioning process for the school, and considering many design options, we feel that Finegold Alexander Architects understands our community and created a comprehensive and  cost-effective solution for a dynamic school to educate our students now and for the future.” With the new PK-8 facility replacing three outdated schools, the benefits are creating a unified school campus adjacent to the high school and a facility that houses two schools – elementary and middle – under one roof.  The community will have access to spaces such as the Gym, Health and Wellness Studio, and Cafetorium after hours.  

“Early in the design process the community participated in multiple Educational Visioning Workshop that allowed us to translate the feedback from teachers, administrators, parents, students and community members into guiding principles for design. The workshops provided the basis for the approved schematic design. We look forward to continuing our work with the community to further develop a future-forward learning environment that is safe, inspirational, cost-effective, energy efficient and child-centered,” said Regan Shields Ives, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Finegold Alexander Architects. (Link to site with the photos, and process)

Finegold Alexander Architects was selected in 2018 by the Town of Leicester and the Massachusetts School Building Authority as the Architects for the Feasibility Study and Schematic Design phases of the Leicester Pk-8 School project and will continue to serve as the Architect of Record upon a favorable town vote.  The Feasibility and Schematic Design phases required in-depth coordination with the school district and school building committee to create detailed reports submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for review and approval. These requirements included, among many others, preparing a full educational program addressing PreK-8 needs, site and geotechnical testing to understand the subsurface conditions, evaluation of building and site design options, preliminary energy-efficient building systems, a building maintenance plan, and cost estimates.