LYNN - The new Pickering School Building Committee had its first official meeting Monday night over Zoom, where it established a six-person subcommittee tasked with finalizing a Request For Services (RFS) — for the selection of an owner’s project manager — to be sent to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
An owner’s project manager is the clerk for the project, who sits with the city — the owner of the project — reviewing and valuing engineering and overseeing that Lynn meets its established timetable for the construction of the new middle school.
The OPM will also be in charge of finding a designer for the project and will send the top-three candidates to the 16-member MSBA panel for final selection. This is expected to take place in May.
Mayor Jared Nicholson, who hosted the meeting, said the committee will adhere to the MSBA process and said he was excited for this first step in the rebuilding of the 106-year-old school.
The MSBA is a quasi-independent government authority that helps to fund capital improvement projects in the commonwealth’s public schools. The city was invited back into the MSBA program in April 2021, four years after voters rejected a two-school option for a new Pickering.
“We are committed to making the most of the opportunity to follow the MSBA process and ultimately meet the goal to replace or renovate Pickering,” Nicholson said.
The subcommittee includes Nicholson, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patrick Tutwiler, Ward 2 Councilor Rick Starbard, School Committee member Lorraine Gately, Deputy Building Commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) Joseph Smart and Lynn Public Schools parent Peter Kalokithas.
The subcommittee will serve as the OPM selection committee and will partake in the process of interviewing the top three candidates for the position.
Michael Donovan, the chief of ISD, presented a draft of the RFS to members of the building committee on the call Monday night. The subcommittee will review, make recommendations and finalize the RFS.
“We are looking to finalize and submit a Request for Services by Feb. 10,” Donovan told the committee.
Other RFS items will be related to any additional problems at the work site.
There will also be a feasibility study, which is expected to cost $1.5 million, in October that will discuss whether the city will construct a brand-new building or renovate the old one, and decide whether the building will be at a new location or stay at 70 Conomo Ave. There is no plan currently for the proposed building’s location at this time.
Unlike 2017, when the city asked voters to approve a debt exclusion for the construction of two schools to replace Pickering Middle School, Tutwiler has said the city has enough money to pay for a new building this time. A new Pickering is expected to cost $110 million to $140 million, he said.
Despite numerous decisions to be made in the future, Nicholson said this meeting was a small step in the direction of a large moment for the city.
“We are excited to begin this important process to meet a key educational need in the city,” Nicholson said. “We’re committed to a transparent process that involves and informs the community.”
The committee will hold its next meeting on Feb. 7, 2022.