Welcome to the New Pickering Middle School Building Project

Committee Members and Affiliation
Jared Nicholson Chair Mayor, City of Lynn
Brian Castellanos Member Lynn School Committee Member
Debra Ruggiero Deputy Superintendent Lynn Public Schools
Dianna Chakoutis City Councilor Ward 5
Flory Makuwa Construction Supervisor and Zoning Board of Appeals ( ZBA) Member
Jessica Gerado Teacher and Parent Lynn Public Schools
Jim Ridley Former Principal Lynn Public Schools
John Ford Former Member Lynn School Committee
Joseph Smart Deputy Building Commissioner Inspectional Services
Karyn Miller Teacher - Masconomet Regional Lynn Public Schools Parent
Kevin Rittershaus Principal Pickering Middle School
Lauren Drago Associate Planner City of Lynn
Lorraine Gately Member Lynn School Committee
Michael Bertino Chief Financial Officer (CFO) City of Lynn
Michael Donovan Chief Inspectional Services
Patrick Tutwiler Superintendent Lynn Public Schools
Peter Kolokithas Professional Engineer and Lynn Public Schools Parent
Rich Marlin Legislative Director, Mass Building Trades Council
Rick Starbard City Councilor Ward 2
Steven Smith Facilities Director City of Lynn
Tom Mannion Retired Member IBEW Local 103
Tom McGee Former Mayor City of Lynn
Wayne Lozzi City Councilor Ward 1

Committee Meetings - Agenda, Minutes, Video and More

January 31, 2022 6 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video
February 3, 2022 4:30 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video
February 7, 2022 6 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video
April 21, 2022 6 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video
April 27, 2022 3 PM - Minutes Meeting Video
May 2, 2022 7 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video
May 3, 2022 7 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video
August 17, 2022 6:30 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video
September 15, 2022 6:30 PM Agenda Minutes Meeting Video

Pickering School Building Project
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)? 

The City of Lynn is working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on the Pickering School Building project. The MSBA is a quasi-independent government agency that funds capital improvement projects in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ public schools. The MSBA “work[s] with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy-efficient schools across Massachusetts.” It has a dedicated revenue stream of one penny of the Commonwealth’s 6.25 percent sales tax. Since 2004, the MSBA has made more than $15.6B in reimbursement payments to school districts for school construction projects. 

What is the Pickering School Building Committee (SBC)? Who is involved? 
The Pickering SBC is charged with coordinating and facilitating the design and construction of a new Pickering Middle School. There are twenty-two voting members of the Pickering SBC, which consist of City of Lynn/Lynn Public Schools staff and elected officials, as well as community members with experience in the building/construction and education industries. Pickering SBC members were appointed under Mayor Thomas McGee’s administration in accordance with the MSBA’s requirements and guidelines. Please visit the project website to review a list of Pickering SBC members. 

What is the timeline for the Pickering School Building project?
This project is expected to take anywhere from five to seven years given the rigorous and multi-step process the MSBA requires. The process began in April 2021 when the MSBA invited the City of Lynn into the Eligibility Period following the submittal of a Statement of Interest (SOI). It is anticipated that construction or renovation of Pickering Middle School, at the earliest, may begin in 2024 with project completion in 2027.

Has a site already been determined for Pickering Middle School? 
There has not yet been a site chosen for a new Pickering Middle School. The City of Lynn is not currently at the stage in the MSBA process where it has been decided that new construction is most appropriate. Following the selection of an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) and Designer, the City will enter into a Feasibility Study, which will help assess current needs, as well as determine the most cost-effective and educationally-appropriate option. The Pickering SBC will consider several options and ultimately decide what is most appropriate. These options include: renovation to the existing school; renovation with an addition to the existing school; or new construction. 

What will happen to the existing Pickering Middle School if new construction is chosen?
The Feasibility Study will determine the future of the existing Pickering Middle School. If new construction is chosen, then the Lynn School Committee will determine what the existing school will be utilized as.

How much will the project cost? How will the project be paid for?
The estimated total cost of the Pickering School Building Project is between $110M and $140M; however, the actual total project will be unknown until the Feasibility Study is completed. The MSBA will reimburse the City of Lynn for eligible project costs during construction. The reimbursement rates are dependent upon various socioeconomic factors, as well as limitations related to square footage, with a minimum base rate of 31 percent up to a maximum of 80 percent. Several factors can increase the MSBA’s reimbursement rate, including a community income factor, community property factor and community poverty factor. Historically, the MSBA’s reimbursement rate covers approximately 60 percent of the total project cost. The remaining costs will be funded through a municipal bond that will be paid throughout a thirty-year period. The City’s annual bond payments are expected to be somewhere between $2.6M and $3.4M and are highly dependent on interest rates.

Where can I go to learn more information about this project? How can I stay informed?
The Pickering SBC is committed to an inclusive, transparent process. As the project progresses, there will be considerable opportunities for public input and community engagement, including stakeholder surveys and public meetings. The project website has information to stay informed, such as relevant news articles, meeting agendas, minutes and video recordings of Pickering SBC meetings. The project website will be updated regularly as new information is available. Pickering SBC meetings are also posted regularly and open to the public. Please direct any further questions to the Mayor’s Office (danya.smith@lynnma.gov). 

The New Pickering School Project - In The News


ADAM BASS - January 31, 2021

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.

MSBA Invites City of Lynn's Pickering Middle School Into Eligibility Period
April 14, 2021

BOSTON - State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Chair of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”), and MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy announced today that the MSBA Board of Directors voted to invite the Pickering Middle School, located in the City of Lynn, into the MSBA’s Eligibility Period. During the 270-day Eligibility Period, the MSBA will work with the District to determine the District’s financial and community readiness to enter the MSBA Capital Pipeline.

“The Board has voted the Pickering Middle School into the Eligibility Period,” said Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg. “The MSBA will work collaboratively with local officials to ensure the best outcome for the District’s students.”

The next step is for the District to complete preliminary requirements pertaining to local approval and formation of a local school building committee. Upon timely and successful completion of the Eligibility Period requirements, the District becomes eligible for an invitation into the Feasibility Study phase of the MSBA Capital Pipeline, subject to a vote of the Board of Directors.

“The Eligibility Period is a critical step in the MSBA’s process of evaluating potential work on the Pickering Middle School,” stated Executive Director McCarthy. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the District as it enters the Eligibility Period.”

The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public school facilities. Since its 2004 inception, the Authority has made over 1,750 site visits to more than 250 school districts as part of its due diligence process and has made over $15.1 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects.

If you would like to learn more about the MSBA Grant Program process, you can visit: https://www.massschoolbuildings.org/building/prerequisites.


Massachusetts School Building Authority - Eligibility Period

To further maximize resources, the MSBA has formalized and streamlined the beginning of its grant process with the establishment of an Eligibility Period, which has and will continue to result in several benefits to the District and the MSBA. The Eligibility Period assists the MSBA with managing its financial resources by identifying early in the process whether a District is ready to manage and fund a capital project. It will help to determine a District’s financial and community readiness to enter the capital pipeline. It will also assist Districts locally by providing a definitive schedule and identifying needs for planning and budgeting.

A vote of the MSBA Board of Directors to invite a District into the Eligibility Period is based on a review of the District’s Statement of Interest ("SOI") and staff due diligence and recommendation. The vote initiates a 270-day period for the District to complete certain preliminary requirements that include: 1) a certification of the District’s understanding of the grant program rules by executing an Initial Compliance Certification; 2) forming a School Building Committee and submitting the membership to the MSBA for acceptance; 3) completing an Educational Profile Questionnaire to further inform the MSBA’s understanding of the District’s current and proposed educational facilities, teaching methodology, grade configurations and program offerings; 4) a summary of the District’s existing maintenance practices; 5) certification of a design enrollment for the proposed project agreed upon with the MSBA (may not be applicable for Repair Assessments depending on the proposed scope of work); 6) confirmation of community authorization and funding to proceed (see MSBA Vote Requirements); and, 7) execution of the MSBA’s standard Feasibility Study Agreement, which establishes a process for the District to be reimbursed for eligible expenses.

Districts that successfully complete the preliminary requirements to the satisfaction of the MSBA within the 270-day Eligibility Period are eligible to receive an invitation from the MSBA Board of Directors to the Feasibility Study phase. This phase involves the District utilizing MSBA-specific procurement processes and standard Request for Services ("RFS") templates and contracts to procure a team of professionals to work with the District as a proposed project advances through the MSBA grant process as defined in Module 2.

Districts that are able to successfully complete the preliminary requirements in less than 270 days may receive an invitation earlier than 270 days, as determined by the MSBA. An invitation to the Eligibility Period is not an invitation to Feasibility Study and it does not guarantee an invitation to the MSBA’s capital pipeline. Districts that do not successfully complete the preliminary requirements within the 270-day period will have to re-file an SOI during the next open SOI filing period.

The MSBA’s program for school building construction and renovation grants is a non-entitlement competitive grant program. Grants are distributed by the MSBA’s Board of Directors based on need and urgency, as expressed by the District and validated by the MSBA. Submitting an SOI is the critical first step in the MSBA’s program for school building construction and renovation grants.

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