Technological advances, scientific breakthroughs, new ways of learning and working; progress in every realm is made possible by the sharing of information and ideas. As innovation has become the key to success in the economy and the workplace, our work spaces and educational environments are being transformed to emphasize collaboration, hands-on learning, and entrepreneurial thinking. This development can be seen a number of different kinds of facilities, from workplaces to higher education, to libraries and K-12 schools; more and more buildings are being designed to foster collaboration and encourage chance interactions.
Threshold requirements for public construction projects were among the dozens of changes in the “Municipal Modernization Act” passed late last year. The intent of the law was to streamline processes and offer greater flexibility to municipalities.
The sections of the law relating to public construction procurement allow cities and towns to award contracts under $50,000 without going through a formal competitive bidding process. Larger projects must still undertake the formal process, and unchanged is the requirement to engage the services of an Owner’s Project Manager on projects over $1.5 million.
The City of Fitchburg has selected LPA to conduct a feasibility study for the renovation or replacement of the City Hall building at 718 Main Street. Originally built in 1852, the historic building has been vacant due to safety concerns since 2012.
Work is also getting underway on a feasibility study for the City of Marlborough’s Elementary School options. Representatives of the City and the Massachusetts School Building Authority selected LPA for the project this past January, which will determine whether to renovate and expand or replace the existing school.
Wachusett Regional School District’s Mountview Middle School will have been open and occupied for its first full year as of this April. The 126,000 square foot, three story building replaced an outdated and inadequate facility built in 1967.
Superintendent Daryll McCall said of the new building, “Aside from being an attractive structure both interior and exterior, the school was designed with large student and staff-friendly classrooms with open common areas that support team learning and teaching. The learning spaces for students and staff are bright and airy, with a level of functionality that far surpasses the former Mountview School.”
LPA recently hired Intern Architect Paul Cacciola. With both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Paul brings experience with multiple public school buildings and technical skills including Revit, AutoCAD, and Autodesk BIM.
“I was drawn to LPA because of their diverse portfolio of projects, which will allow me to not only continue to grow my knowledge in K-12 school projects, but also offers the opportunity to expand my knowledge and education working on different project types.”
LPA has been serving as Owner’s Project Manager for the Town of Lancaster as they renovate the historic Prescott Building. The former high school will be renovated to provide office space for the town. A groundbreaking ceremony marked an important milestone in the project. See the article in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
Sited atop a glacial drumlin overlooking the Wachusett Reservoir to the east, there is a brand new building where people are engaging in age-old spiritual practices inspired by the techniques of St Ignatius of Loyola. This past September, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester began offering retreats at the Joyce Contemplative Center in West Boylston after many years of planning, fundraising, discussion, design, and construction. LPA served as architect on the project, in collaboration with William J. Masiello Architect, Inc.
In just the first six months in operation, 322 students and nearly 100 alumni have attended retreats at the Center, and interest from academic departments, trustees, staff, and faculty is growing because, as Megan Fox-Kelly, Associate Chaplain and Director of Retreats points out, “Once you go to the Center you want to go back. This is a space to step away from the busyness of life where you can take a break and breathe.”
A historic building located in the heart of downtown, the Westborough Public Library serves as a resource and meeting place for the entire community. This highly visible location and iconic building are assets that the town intends to maintain, even as it looks to transform the facility into a 21st Century library.
This past October, LPA presented a preliminary design for a renovated and expanded Westborough Public Library to their Town Meeting, where voters authorized the Library Trustees to submit an application for a Construction Grant to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC).
LPA has been recognized for its work on the Auburn Middle School, completed last year, by the Central Massachusetts AIA with a merit award, and by Learning by Design with an outstanding project award. Learning by Design is a national publication that comes out twice each year and features projects that exemplify design innovation and excellence in education. Auburn Middle School was featured in their Fall 2016 issue. The article talks about how the school was designed in support of the district’s team-based learning curriculum.
Central Massachusetts AIA honored the project at its annual awards dinner this past November, and said of the school, “The Auburn Middle School is recognized for the design of its strong and inviting circulation corridors. Here color and architectural detail enhance the functional and social aspects of these important spaces. This can be seen where interior windows of the second floor Media Center bow into the grand entry corridor recognizing its importance to the school’s curriculum. Entries to individual classrooms welcome students by giving them special recognition in shape, material, and detailing.”
An article in the Boston Globe talks to a number of students about their experience attending retreats at the new Contemplative Center at Holy Cross. Read the article: Eat, pray, study: Holy Cross students learn the language of serenity.
On September 24, 1903 the Shrewsbury Public Library held a dedication ceremony and a brand new building was opened to the public. One hundred and thirteen years later, a re-dedication celebrated the expansion and preservation of the town’s library building. The project of expanding, updating and preserving the building took many years to go from an idea to a plan to a reality.
The $23 million project was funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, a Town of Shrewsbury municipal bond, and a private fundraising effort. Fundraising actually began for the project in 2007, with many dedicated volunteers and donors pitching in to meet the ambitious $1.75 million goal. From major gifts from individuals to small change collected through a community coin drive, the entire community came together to help fund the library, surpassing their goal by the time the library re-opened in early September.
Preparations are underway to move the historic Stearns Tavern from its current location at 651 Park Ave in Worcester to its new home at Coes Knife Park, in a uniquely collaborative undertaking. Preservation Worcester, the City of Worcester, several other nonprofits, and dozens of private companies have been contributing to the cause of saving and moving the building so that it can once again serve as a place for community members to meet and work.