Northeast Vocational School Superintendent David DiBarri wishes to provide the communities served by Northeast Metro Tech with an update on the school’s progress toward updating or replacing its existing facility.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on daily life in Massachusetts and beyond, Northeast Metro Tech has continued to work its way through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) design process as it continues its efforts to replace its current building.
Through close collaboration with owner’s project manager PMA Consultants, which the school retained last fall to oversee all facets of the project, as well as Waltham-based architectural firm Drumney Rosane Anderson (DRA). Northeast Metro Tech has now begun a feasibility study, which is the third phase of an eight-phase MSBA process.
PMA Consultants is a national construction management, scheduling and project controls group that has worked on 45 MSBA projects so far, while DRA has designed seven technical high schools in the last seven years.
Throughout the feasibility study, the team will evaluate all available construction options, including renovating the existing school to code, additions or renovations, and new construction. Those options will be evaluated against a variety of criteria, including cost, but also on each one’s ability to satisfy the district’s educational plan with projected enrollments. The feasibility study concludes with the project team selecting the single most appropriate option and seeking MSBA approval to advance.
The feasibility study also includes in-depth analyses of the existing building, as well as impacts of construction on the environment, traffic and other factors.
While its initial schedule remained attainable, the project team has elected to extend its time frame slightly in the wake of COVID-19 in order to maximize public outreach through the key design phases, as in-person meetings have had to be replaced with virtual ones.
“A critical piece of making this process as successful as possible is ensuring that all of our stakeholders are involved throughout,” Superintendent DiBarri said. “We want to settle on a final project that will fulfill the needs of students for decades to come, and in order to that to happen the design process needs be both thoughtful and inclusive.”
On Aug. 14, following several planned School Building Committee meetings, the team will submit its Preliminary Design Program to the MSBA. That submission will incorporate feedback on the early-stage options that will be shared during meetings throughout the summer.
The submission in August will include consideration for more than 20 different construction and enrollment scenarios, as well as 12 preferred options. It will be followed in January 2021 by a Preferred Schematic Report that will outline the most desirable option identified by the project team.
Next February, the project team will seek MSBA approval to move to the schematic design phase, before working to advance through additional modules over the course of 2021. Ultimately, if the project earns MSBA approval and funding, the communities Northeast Metro Tech serves will be called upon to contribute a portion of the remainder of the project’s budget.
All stakeholders will be able to remain informed about the progress of the project via a dedicated website, northeastbuildingproject.com.