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WHCIS Building Renovation and Replacement Efforts

The City of Somerville and the Somerville Public Schools have begun the process of pursuing significant renovation or new construction for the Winter Hill Community Innovation School. In early 2022, formal building and school-system-wide studies were initiated to launch this process. In April 2023, Somerville filed Statements of Interest with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to seek major state funding for addressing the school building needs of the Winter Hill Community Innovation School as well as the Benjamin B. Brown School. 

Given the recent (June 2023) temporary closure of the Winter Hill School, School, and City teams are working to accelerate plans for renovation or rebuilding.

Join a Districtwide Discussion on Planning for our K-8 School Building Needs 

on Tuesday, December 19th, at 6:30 p.m. at Somerville High School. 

Refreshments and kids activies will be offered. 

More information on the K-8 Master Planning Meeting under Events below (scroll to bottom). 

WHCIS 2023-2024 School Year Info

About the WHCIS

Built in 1975, the Winter Hill Community Innovation School is the second oldest operating school in the district. It is the district’s only Innovation School. It is home to approximately 425 students in PK-8 (prekindergarten to grade 8) and includes General Education classes, the Newcomer Academy for grade 6-8 Multilingual Learners (ELLs), and classes for Somerville students with special education needs. It also is home to the AIM Program (Adapt, Include, Motivate) for students on the autism spectrum who need specially designed instruction. 

What’s Next for the School Building?

The City of Somerville is actively working to address the challenges faced by the Winter Hill school community and prepare for the future needs of the school and our district.  

Short-Term 

While assessments of 115 Sycamore, conducted in summer 2023, have shown that the building is structurally sound, the building does need some repairs before it could be reoccupied.  

Instead, as of November 2023, we will focus on making additional investments at the Edgerly Building to allow PK and K classrooms to join the rest of the school community for the 2024-2025 school year. We anticipate that the WHCIS community will remain at the Edgerly for the duration of the building project for a new or renovated school. 

Building Full Renovation or Reconstruction Efforts  

The City of Somerville and Somerville Public Schools, in collaboration with the School Committee and City Council, have been working closely to identify all potential options, and coordinating on the processes that would be required for a full renovation or rebuild through the City’s K-8 Master Plan. These plans were accelerated in June 2023 with the unexpected temporary closure of the Winter Hill school. 

Planning and Parent/Guardian/Community Input

In June 2023, Mayor Ballantyne committed additional funds to be used for a required feasibility study for Winter Hill and the full school district later this year. This includes parent/guardian/community engagement that will, in part, help determine renovation potential and potential sites for the school.  

That process is currently underway as of late 2023 with the behind-the-scenes hiring process of consulting teams. Once necessary consultants have been hired (early 2024), the more public phase will begin with an intensive community process and the formation of a building committee(s).  

During this phase, we will solidify plans for school building projects in our school district.  As those plans take shape with community input, the City will estimate their costs and explore ways to finance school construction or renovation with approval from the City Council and/or voters. Again, these steps are called a Feasibility Study, which sounds like we are just evaluating information, but in actuality, this is the start of preparing rough designs and mapping out general aspects of projects our schools need and that our community wants. 

Once available, more information will be shared here and through other City and School channels.     

Major steps taken to date include:
  • In early 2022 the Somerville K-8 Master Plan development process began with Winter Hill and Brown School needs driving this process. Please see the Master Plan page for more detailed information. The development of this plan requires an extensive study and planning process to ensure the needs of the community‚Äôs current and future student populations are met and to assess the feasibility of renovations and replacement of school buildings in Somerville.¬†
  • SPS completed the necessary districtwide Enrollment Study to assess how many students and with what needs are anticipated to enroll in Somerville schools over time.¬†¬†
  • The City completed the necessary Building Capacity Study to analyze how many staff and students our existing school buildings across the district can support.¬†
  • The City has conducted a necessary Gap Analysis Study to determine based on the enrollment projections and building capacities, what new capacities SPS need now and in coming years to best serve all students in the district. The report is currently being developed, will be shared with the community once available.¬†
  • In January 2023, the Building Conditions Analysis and Renovation Potential Assessment of the Winter Hill Community Innovation School was launched as part of the K-8 Master Plan. When the concrete failure occurred in late May 2023, the City mobilized to exhaustively assess the structural condition of Winter Hill. The results of this assessment are available here.¬†

K-8 Schools Master Plan Development

The K-8 Schools Master Plan will inform the City’s approach to school building development over the next generation. The goal of the plan is to ensure our school system meets the current and future educational needs of Somerville Public Schools (SPS) students. This includes preparing for anticipated enrollment as well as for evolving programmatic needs necessary to provide a quality 21st Century education to all students. The plan also seeks to solve for two existing facility challenges at our two oldest schools: The Benjamin B. Brown School and the Winter Hill Community Innovation School. In short, the K-8 Schools Master Plan is the first step in the process of planning for the major renovation of current schools or new school construction.

Master Plan Development/Funding

January/February 2022: Ballantyne Administration Requests Schools Master Plan Shortly After Assuming Office

Shortly after the Ballantyne Administration assumed office in January 2022, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne requested that planning begin for both the long-range building needs of the School District as well as for the immediate needs of Winter Hill and Brown schools, which both face challenges. Work to prepare for a K-8 Schools Master Plan that would include assessing the needs and options for the Brown and Winter Hill schools was swiftly begun. 

March/April 2022: Master Plan Outline Developed and Funding Plan Prepared 

The Master Plan outline is developed, cost analysis is conducted, and a proposal for funding of the plan via the fiscal year 2023 budget (covering July 2022 to June 2023) is prepared for the Mayor’s Office and Superintendent by City infrastructure staff in coordination with Somerville Public Schools. 

May/June 2022: City Submits and Receives City Council Approval for Funding for the Master Plan  

In May 2022, Mayor Ballantyne’s first City budget is submitted to the City Council, and the first Schools budget prepared collaboratively with SPS, the City, and the School Committee under her administration is submitted to the School Committee. Among other items, they include funding for the Master Plan in the City budget, funding for several school yard renovation projects including at the Brown and Healey Schools, and a historic 10% increase overall in the Schools budget. The SPS budget is passed by the School Committee. And both budgets are passed by the City Council.

Master Plan Execution

July 2022 to March 2023: Enrollment Study, the First Step of the Master Plan 

The enrollment study is a crucial initial step in the planning process. It includes detailed projections of the future student population of the district and will inform the development of a strategic plan to meet the needs of those students. 

Launched in fall 2022 and lead by SPS, the enrollment study by Flo Analytics estimates future enrollment on a 5- and 10-year horizon.

The preliminary data indicate either a fairly steady or a slight decrease in enrollment over the next 10 years. At the higher end, the forecast indicates about a 2% increase in overall student enrollment between this year through SY33. At the lower end, the forecast indicates anywhere from a 5% to a 9% decrease in enrollment between this year through SY33.  

You can read the full report here. 

January - April 2023: Building Capacity Study

The Building Capacity Study or existing building assessment is another part of the first phase of the K-8 Master Plan. A Building Capacity Study looks at how many staff and students our current schools can support. Evaluating how many classrooms our schools can hold and the number of students those classrooms can serve well informs us to what extent our existing buildings can support the needs of SPS. Brown and Winter Hill school have more exhaustive existing building assessments because of the age of the schools. The City completed the Building Capacity Study in April 2023.  

Summer - Fall 2023: Gap Analysis 

The second phase of the Master Plan process compares our enrollment and space needs both now and into the future with the buildings we currently have to determine our building needs going forward. This phase involves problem-solving for the needs identified. Those needs can include new types of spaces that best serve modern educational instruction, expanded specialized space for growing programs like the AIM Program for neurodiverse students, or new or renovated structures needed due to building age or deterioration. We then evaluate the options for reconfiguring, renovating, or replacing buildings (whether in one or more projects). These options also go through a cost estimating exercise. This is just the start of how Somerville looks at needs and options. Parents, guardians, and the full community are engaged next as we determine together what is best.  

Winter 2023 - Fall 2025: Feasibility Study and Community Process  

Intensive community process and the formation of building committees will begin during this period. During this phase, we  will solidify plans for building projects in our school district. As those plans take shape with community input, the City will estimate their costs and explore ways to finance school construction or renovation with approval from the City Council and/or voters. These steps are called a Feasibility Study, which sounds like we are just evaluating information, but actually this is the start of preparing rough designs and mapping out general aspects of projects our schools need and that our community wants. 

This phase includes a vital financial step as well: identifying funding. The City will seek state funding via the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The MSBA requires all of the previous planning and study steps above (started way back in January 2022) before they will consider funding a portion of a project. The City and SPS have already taken the first step in starting our funding application process with MSBA for Brown and Winter Hill by submitting a Statement of Interest in April 2023.

Starting Fall 2025: Design, Followed by Construction 

Upon completion of the feasibility study and community process, work on the specific project design will get underway.‚ÄĮOnce funding is in place and the design is completed, the construction process will begin. From finding a contractor to installing the last door or light, school projects can take several years to renovate or build as can be seen with the new High School or the renovated East Somerville Community School.¬†¬†

Get Involved

Community engagement is a critical component of any public investment. There will be opportunities for parents, guardians, and all community members to provide feedback on the K-8 Master Plan development process as well as any individual school-specific renovation/reconstruction projects including the Winter Hill school.  

Looking ahead, a Building Committee will be formed prior to beginning a design phase for a renovated or new school. The Building Committee would include representatives from the City, Somerville Public Schools (both administration and staff), School Committee, City Council, and Somerville residents and stakeholders such as parents and guardians.  

As those opportunities become available more information on how to get involved will be made available here and through other City and school channels.

Building Assessments

2020 Roof & Window Project (115 Sycamore)

K-8 Master Plan (115 Sycamore)

2023 Structural Evaluation (115 Sycamore)

Winter Hill at Edgerly Assessments 

 

Events

 

Dear SPS Families, Students, and Staff, 

 

The community meeting previously scheduled for Tuesday, December 5th has been postponed to Tuesday, December 19th at 6:30 p.m. At the meeting, City and SPS staff will present our K-8 Capacity Study report that will inform both short- and long-term planning for school buildings. The meeting on December 19th will be held in the Somerville High School cafeteria, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Pizza and refreshments will be provided. 

 

Staff from the Somerville Parks and Recreation Department will provide activities for school-aged children during the meeting. Interpretation will be available in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Mandarin. 

 

We made the decision to postpone the meeting as we anticipate that the Board of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) will vote in mid-December on which school districts to invite into their funding program. This vote will impact timelines for potential building projects, and understanding whether or not we will be invited into the MSBA program this year will help inform our next steps.

 

At the meeting on December 19th, we will go over facilities and enrollment analysis collected over the past 18 months across all of our school buildings, kick off a community engagement process to gather feedback on how to address facilities challenges in our district, and discuss immediate next steps toward building a new school.

 

If you have any questions, please email communications@k12.somerville.ma.us. 

 

‚Äď

Cambio de fecha: Reunión comunitaria del plan de capacidad K-8

 

Estimadas familias, estudiantes y personal de SPS,

 

La reunión comunitaria previamente programada para el martes 5 de diciembre se pospuso para el martes 19 de diciembre a las 6:30 p.m. En la reunión, el personal de la ciudad y de SPS presentarán nuestro informe del estudio de capacidad K-8 que informará la planificación a corto y largo plazo para los edificios escolares. La reunión del 19 de diciembre se llevará a cabo en la cafetería de Somerville High School, comenzando a las 6:30 p.m. Se proporcionarán pizza y refrigerios.

 

El personal del Departamento de Parques y Recreaci√≥n de Somerville ofrecer√° actividades para ni√Īos en edad escolar durante la reuni√≥n. Habr√° interpretaci√≥n disponible en espa√Īol, portugu√©s, criollo haitiano y mandar√≠n.

 

Tomamos la decisi√≥n de posponer la reuni√≥n porque anticipamos que la Junta de la Autoridad de Construcci√≥n Escolar de Massachusetts (MSBA) votar√° a mediados de diciembre sobre qu√© distritos escolares invitar√°n a su programa de financiaci√≥n. Esta votaci√≥n afectar√° los cronogramas para posibles proyectos de construcci√≥n, y comprender si seremos invitados o no al programa MSBA este a√Īo ayudar√° a informar nuestros pr√≥ximos pasos.

 

En la reuni√≥n del 19 de diciembre, revisaremos los an√°lisis de instalaciones y de inscripci√≥n recopilados durante los √ļltimos 18 meses en todos nuestros edificios escolares, comenzaremos un proceso de participaci√≥n comunitaria para recopilar comentarios sobre c√≥mo abordar los desaf√≠os de las instalaciones en nuestro distrito y discutiremos los pr√≥ximos pasos inmediatos hacia la construcci√≥n de una nueva escuela.

 

Si tiene alguna pregunta, envíe un correo electrónico a communications@k12.somerville.ma.us. 

‚Äď

 

Mudança de data: Reunião da comunidade do plano de capacidade K-8

 

Prezadas famílias, alunos e funcionários do SPS, 

 

A reunião comunitária anteriormente agendada para terça-feira, 5 de dezembro, foi adiada para terça-feira, 19 de dezembro, às 18h30. Na reunião, os funcionários da cidade e da SPS apresentarão o nosso relatório do Estudo de Capacidade K-8 que informará o planeamento de curto e longo prazo para edifícios escolares. A reunião de 19 de dezembro será realizada no refeitório da Somerville High School a partir das 18h30. Serão fornecidas pizzas, lanches e bebidas.

 

A equipe do Departamento de Parques e Recreação de Somerville fornecerá atividades para crianças em idade escolar durante a reunião. A interpretação estará disponível em espanhol, português, crioulo haitiano e mandarim.

 

Tomámos a decisão de adiar a reunião porque prevemos que o Conselho da Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) votará em meados de Dezembro sobre quais os distritos escolares a convidar para o seu programa de financiamento. Esta votação terá impacto nos prazos para potenciais projetos de construção, e compreender se seremos ou não convidados para o programa MSBA este ano ajudará a informar os nossos próximos passos.

 

Na reuni√£o de 19 de dezembro, analisaremos as instala√ß√Ķes e a an√°lise de matr√≠culas coletadas ao longo dos √ļltimos 18 meses em todos os nossos edif√≠cios escolares, iniciaremos um processo de envolvimento da comunidade para coletar feedback sobre como enfrentar os desafios das instala√ß√Ķes em nosso distrito e discutiremos o pr√≥ximo passos imediato para a constru√ß√£o de uma nova escola.

 

Se voc√™ tiver alguma d√ļvida, envie um e-mail para¬†Communications@k12.somerville.ma.us.¬†

‚Äď

 

Chanjman Dat: Reyinyon Kominotè Plan Kapasite K-8

 

Chè Fanmi SPS, Elèv, ak Anplwaye, 

 

Reyinyon kominotè ki te deja pwograme pou madi 5 desanm lan te ranvwaye pou madi 19 desanm a 6:30 p.m. Nan reyinyon an, anplwaye Vil la ak SPS pral prezante rapò Etid Kapasite K-8 nou an ki pral enfòme planifikasyon alontèm ak kout tèm pou bilding lekòl yo. Reyinyon an 19 desanm ap fèt nan kafeterya Somerville High School, apati 6:30 p.m. Y ap bay pitza ak rafrechisman.

 

Anplwaye Depatman Pak ak Rekreyasyon Somerville ap ofri aktivite pou timoun ki gen laj lekòl pandan reyinyon an. Entèpretasyon ap disponib an panyòl, pòtigè, kreyòl ayisyen, ak mandaren.

 

Nou te pran desizyon pou ranvwaye reyinyon an pandan n ap prevwa Komisyon Konsèy Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) pral vote nan mitan Desanm ki distri lekòl yo pou envite nan pwogram finansman yo. Vòt sa a pral afekte delè pou pwojè bilding potansyèl yo, epi konprann si wi ou non yo pral envite nou nan pwogram MSBA ane sa a pral ede enfòme pwochen etap nou yo.

 

Nan reyinyon ki te 19 desanm nan, nou pral analize etablisman yo ak analiz enskripsyon yo kolekte pandan 18 mwa ki sot pase yo nan tout bilding lekòl nou yo, epi nou pral lanse yon pwosesis angajman kominotè pou rasanble fidbak sou fason pou rezoud pwoblèm etablisman yo nan distri nou an, epi diskite pwochen etap imedya a nan direksyon bati yon nouvo lekòl.

 

Si w gen nenpòt kesyon, tanpri imèl communications@k12.somerville.ma.us. 

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