Plans to usher in a new era for students attending the North End-based Lincoln and Brightwood schools took a giant leap forward today with a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the building of a 150,500 square foot building that will house both schools, utilizing the school within a school design.
The new building will be located at 255 Plainfield Street, adjacent to Chestnut Accelerated Middle School. Construction is expected to take 24 months and is made possible largely by funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which last year approved state reimbursements of up to 80 percent of all eligible construction costs. Total project cost is $82 million.
Construction of the new school will utilize the “school within a school design,” consolidating Brightwood School on Plainfield Street (built in 1898) and Lincoln School on Chestnut Street (built in 1910) into a single building. The school will serve 800 students from pre-kindergarten through grade fifth grade. Under the design concept, each school will have its own entrance and maintain its own identity. The schools will share a gym, cafeteria, media center, soccer field and mechanical systems. Each will still have its own staff. Construction is expected to take 24 months.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “Again, this is the first of its kind to be built not only here in Springfield, but the state too. I am so appreciative of the outstanding partnership we have with the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Our relationship and trust has led my Administration to build new schools and renovate/upgrade our other schools to the tune of $616 million – the most in the state. These efforts along with our teachers and Superintendent Dan Warwick’s team have made for a much improved educational system for our students and families.”
“The groundbreaking of the Brightwood-Lincoln School is the start of a new and exciting time for students, teachers, and the entire Springfield community,” said Massachusetts State Treasurer and Receiver General Deborah B. Goldberg. “The Massachusetts School Building Authority looks forward to the completion of this project and creating a 21st century learning environment.”
Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick said students and staff have had to make the best of the old buildings for far too long. “In true Springfield fashion, our staff, students and families have continued to make strides while being housed in these buildings, which were built at the turn of the century and are certainly outdated and run down. I’m so thrilled that they will soon have state-of-the-art conditions, facilities and resources to enhance the teaching and learning experience at these schools,” said Warwick. “Our students and staff deserve the very best and we are grateful to the MSBSA for once again stepping in on behalf of our families. We are also grateful to Mayor Sarno for his tireless support, leadership and work with the MSBA, which has resulted in more than $600 million in funding for not only new schools but also school renovations and improvements.”
School Committee Member Maria Perez said, “This is such a wonderful development for our neighborhood. The kids will have a beautiful new school and I’m so excited they will finally have a cafeteria where they can eat their lunches,” said School Committeewoman Maria Perez. “I’m excited for the entire North End because not only will the school be used by students but also by the community. It’s been important to include the voices of the North End residents in this process and I am grateful that the school department and City have done that.”
Director of Capital Asset Peter Garvey said, “The project actually started in September of 2015 when a team from the MSBA conducted a senior study to examine both the facility condition and the programmatic issues. This is not just a building but an educational facility and community center. The project team focused on the education component and concentrated on the relationships within the building. The team also looked at how the building would fit into the community and how it would impact traffic.”