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Special Town Meeting Says Yes to Estabrook

By unanimous voice vote, an April 2 special Town Meeting approved a new Estabrook School building project with a few moving parts and potential to earn LEED Silver certification and 37 percent reimbursement from the MSBA.

The Lexington Public Schools are one step closer to making polychlorinated biphenyls a part of ’s past.

A special Town Meeting on Monday, April 2, approved funding for a new Estabrook School, which landed on the fast track to new construction following the discovery of ) at the school at the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

The project was previously approved through a and, just last week, got the nod from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to advance planning into the project scope and budget phase.

On Monday, Town Meeting unanimously approved an appropriation of $40,792,248 for the construction of a new Estabrook School. But the MSBA could reimburse as much as 37.27 percent of the total project cost, should the final product hit all the criteria for a maximum facility grant of $13,132,418.

A look back at .

Project Details

While some aspects of the new Estabrook’s design, particularly the “green” elements, are still in flux, the new school is shaping up as a three-story built to serve 540 students in grades K-5. The , with its north-south orientation and high-performance elements, aspires to earn LEED Silver certification and 37 percent reimbursement from the MSBA.

Addressing Town Meeting on Monday, Ken DiNisco, of project architect DiNisco Design, said the new building will not be an MSBA prototype, but rather its design is driven by the district’s standards of what is and should be in place at the existing Estabrook School.

“The educational program is the driving force behind this project,” DiNisco said.

A peek at said educational program reveals plans for 22 general classrooms for grades 1 through 5, five kindergarten classrooms, eight rooms devoted for special education, two art rooms, two music rooms, a cafeteria, a gymnasium and a library.

Those uses, plus administrative spaces, have been strategically laid out within the 91,840-square foot, three-story building. That amount of space is comparable to the square-foot-per-student ratios in other buildings, but Estabrook-specific design elements will ensure the school doesn’t feel over-crowded, DiNisco said.

“The quality of the spaces makes this a superior school,” DiNisco said, adding the school will be a quiet, efficient place where the air quality is excellent and “children will feel very at home.”

Sustainable features remain a little bit up in the air and subject to some more discussion with the town’s Energy Conservation and Permanent Building committees. But community members can look forward to natural light carried deep into the building, energy-efficient HVAC, photovoltaic potential and a rooftop garden, among other features.

Construction is expected to start this summer, to progress on an aggressive schedule that aims to get students and teachers into the new school building for 2014-2015 school year.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) has mandated that students be out of the existing Estabrook by Dec. 31, 2014, according to a plan to control PCB exposure while students remain in the old building until the new one comes online.

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