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Global Innovations in Place - Conducting an Educational and Facilities Master Plan for Boston Public Schools

Alex Pitkin, AIA, Director of Institutional Practice Studios

Phil Poinelli, SMMA

Kate Jessup, SMMA


Domains: Toolbox -- Context -- Parameters

Course Level: Expert

Learning Units: 1 LU/HSW

Room: A706

Saturday, October 28, 2017 @ 4:30 pm


The City of Boston has 128 schools serving 57,000 student. There are 24 different grade configurations spread across the 128 schools. The smallest school is 9,000 sf and the largest is 918,000 sf. 84 schools or 65% were constructed prior to World War II. Eleven school buildings date from the 19th Century. Conducting an Educational and Facilities Master Plan for this wide range of facilities was an enormous undertaking. We conducted both physical assessments and educational facility effectiveness reviews for all schools. Our scope included: Educational Visioning including grade reconfiguration; educational delivery discussions; the building and educational assessments noted above; demographic projections; financial options for achieving the Master Plan and an approach for developing building models (options) for future determination. What was innovative and globally applicative is that rather than developing a report book, that would likely have been feet thick (that's a lot of surface area to collect dust) SMMA proposed to develop a web-based 'dashboard' accessible to the community as well as Boston Public Schools and the City. This dashboard is now operational and available to all. The very significant data base developed to record all of the data is in simple to use EXCEL and now in the hands of the client to be a working tool as the district upgrades schools and systems. The versatility of the dashboard allows to every school to be accessed from a simple At a Glance approach to in-depth data. Schools can be filtered by school typology, grade configuration, era built, neighborhood, and many other ways. Better yet, click here and see for yourself, In addition to the presenters, client interviews will be imbedded in the presentation. Presenters will demonstrate the system and discuss how it can be customized to meet other client needs.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. How to organize the information gathering and reporting for 128 schools.  
  2. How a dashboard report out system can make the process accessible and transparent to the community and a useful tool for the owner for years to come.
  3. What needs to happen to realize the Superintendents goals of: Equity, Coherence and Innovation.  
  4. How to evaluate learning spaces and schools for environmental factors that can significantly impact the ability of students to engage, actively attend school and learn.