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New Somerville School Building Committee Seeking Members

School Building Committee to provide technical, fiscal oversight for Somerville’s upcoming school building project

Are you interested in helping to provide technical and fiscal oversight for Somerville’s next school construction project? Apply to join the Somerville School Building Committee by the deadline on Friday, April 5, 2024.  

Based on the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)’s recent vote to invite Somerville into their funding program, our next school construction project will address the school building needs of the Winter Hill Community Innovation School and potentially the Benjamin G. Brown School. The School Building Committee (SBC) will provide oversight of the ultimate project. In addition to required members set by the MSBA, Somerville is seeking four community volunteers to serve on the SBC. 

In addition to the School Building Committee, the City is also forming a Somerville School Construction Advisory Group. If you are less interested in technical oversight and more interested in delving into some core decisions about the project, such as the location of a new school or whether it will be just for Winter Hill or also for the Brown, you may wish to apply to join the Advisory Group, which will discuss these topics. A call for Advisory Group members will be issued later this spring. The Advisory Group will develop recommendations to be considered by the Mayor.  

Why do we have a School Building Committee? 
The Somerville Public Schools have been accepted into the first phase of the MSBA’s grant program. The grant program could potentially provide significant state funding for the rebuilding or new construction of a new school. This state funding program requires that all applicants establish an SBC according to state guidelines.  

What is the School Building Committee? 
• The SBC will monitor and provide technical guidance and fiscal oversight during planning, design, and construction of a new Somerville public school. 
• The SBC will work with City and Somerville Public Schools staff and consultants to oversee project management such as hiring project managers, architects, and construction contractors.  
• The SBC will also ensure that detailed plans and designs meet the needs of the school district within budget.  
• All SBC spending decisions will go to the Mayor and then the City Council for approval. 
• Members will also monitor construction to assure adherence with the approved plans and budget. 
• For more information on the MSBA process for municipal funding for school construction, please visit
What types of decisions will the School Building Committee make? 
The SBC will make decisions that include but are not limited to: 
• project costs,  
• contractors,  
• overall design,  
• additions not funded by the State such as athletics facilities,  
• building finishes and furnishings,  
• educational equipment purchases,  
• IT infrastructure,  
•  sustainability features. 
•  The SBC will also contribute to decision-making on the location of the project, which will ultimately be decided by the Mayor, who has committed to faithfully consider community input on this question. 

What will the School Building Committee NOT decide? 
•  The SBC will NOT decide whether a final building project will accommodate just the Winter Hill community, or if it merges the Winter Hill and Brown Schools.  
•  The SBC will be part of the decision-making process for the location of a new school, but in Somerville, the authority to make the final decision on location rests with the Mayor, who has committed to faithfully consider community input on this matter.  
• The SBC will make initial start-up and project management decisions during a general planning phase while a parallel community process will provide input into the merger and location questions. The SBC will then oversee the chosen project through to completion after the project scope and location is decided by the Mayor following extensive community input and a recommendation by the School Construction Advisory Group. 

Why isn’t the School Building Committee making the decision on whether the new school will serve Winter Hill only or also the Brown? 
• The Ballantyne Administration is committed to broad, inclusive, and meaningful community engagement in decisions of importance to our community. The MSBA does not generally fund more than one school project at a time in a community. Therefore, an SBC can usually proceed without questions about what school is being built. However, Somerville is in a unique situation. The MSBA invited Somerville to apply to receive funding to help with the construction of only one new school, but the community was offered the option to apply to address the needs of two schools (Winter Hill and Brown) in that one project if the City decides to do so.  
•  This one-or-two-school project decision is not part of the usual MSBA process and the authority in Somerville to make this decision lies with the Mayor, who will faithfully weigh community input on this important question.  
• Given the wide range of technical responsibilities and long-term nature of the SBC, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne in partnership with Somerville Public Schools have decided to offer a more robust community input process to inform this critical decision. This separate process will include an Advisory Group and a range of community engagement opportunities designed to provide greater community input specifically on the questions of whether to include the Brown school in the new school; if so, where it will be located, and if not, what the contingency options for Brown will be.   

Who can join the School Building Committee? 
There are currently four open volunteer positions, one in each of the categories listed below:  
•    A community member with architecture, engineering, and/or construction experience 
•    A community member with understanding of municipal finance and how spending impacts the total burden on tax- and rate-payers 
•    A parent or guardian from the Winter Hill Community Innovation School 
•    A parent or guardian from the Benjamin G. Brown School 

Who else will be on the School Building Committee?  
Other positions on the SBC are mandated by the MSBA and will be appointed by the Mayor. They include: 
•    The Mayor 
•    A member of the School Committee 
•    A member of the City Council  
•    The Superintendent and administrators from Somerville Public Schools 
•    City Department Directors for Finance, Infrastructure, and Public Works 

What is the time commitment? 
SBC members are asked to commit to the full length of the building project, as well as for approximately several years of follow-up work that will continue after the school opens and project punch lists and contract closeouts continue. In total, this is a 7- to 10-year commitment. During this time, members will be expected to prepare for and participate in meetings that will occur 1-2 times per month. This is usually a two-hour virtual meeting held in the evening. Work phases will include:   
•    planning,  
•    design,  
•    construction,  
•    post-occupancy punch-list closeout, and  
•    various funding approval processes.  

Do I have to commit to the entire project period? 
While members may serve less than the entire 7- to 10-year period, applicants who express an intent and ability to serve for the entire project period will be preferred.   

How do I apply? 
To apply, send a statement of interest and a resume or a list of your education, work, volunteer, and lived experiences that are relevant to the position(s) requirements you believe you satisfy. 
In your statement of interest, please include a brief explanation of why you would like to join the SBC and how you feel you can support its work. Email your application to Or mail or drop off your application to City Clerk, Somerville City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143.  

When is the application deadline? 
Applications must be received by 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2024. If you are hand-delivering your application, please note that City Hall closes early at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays, is open late until 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday. 

How is the School Building Committee Different from the Somerville School Construction Advisory Group, which will also call for members soon? 
• The mission of the SBC is to manage technical, design, and financial details of the building project over the full length of the project, including post-opening closeout tasks, which is expected to run in total 7 to 10 years.  
• The Advisory Group will spend a period of approximately 18 months to develop a recommendation on whether the project scope should focus solely on the Winter Hill School or if it should include the Brown School as well, and where a new school could be located.  
• A broader community process will invite the full school and Somerville Community to share feedback on both the questions of scope (whether to build only for Winter Hill or Winter Hill and Brown combined) and location, as well as the ongoing design and feature decisions that will continue throughout the project.  

We are happy to answer your questions. Please contact the School Building Project Team via email at or via phone at 617-625-6600 x5400.  

Next Steps 
All members are appointed by the Mayor. All members must comply with and sign the City of Somerville’s Code of Conduct for Board, Commission, and Committee Members. 


Persons with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs, activities, and meetings of the City of Somerville should please contact Adrienne Pomeroy in advance at 617-625-6600 x 2059 or

SOIA Interpretation  
The City will make every attempt to provide interpretation into any language to facilitate participation in Somerville committees, boards, and commissions. Interpretation arrangements must be sought in advance (at least seven days in advance) by contacting the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs at or calling 311 at 617-666-3311. 

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