The MSBA's Designer Selection Panel Ranks Firms for Potential Contract for the J. Henry Higgins Middle School in Peabody

March 15, 2011

BOSTON, MA - State Treasurer Steven Grossman, Chair of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) and Katherine Craven, MSBA Executive Director, announced today that the MSBA’s Designer Selection Panel (“DSP”) has recommended that a contract be awarded to DiNisco Design Partnership, Limited for the design of J. Henry Higgins Middle School in Peabody. The DSP, which included three representatives from Peabody, carefully studied each applicant’s qualifications, experience and references and voted to rank the firms in the following order: (1) DiNisco Design Partnership, Limited, (2) Mount Vernon Group Architects, Inc. and (3) Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc.

The creation of the Designer Selection Panel was a major reform of the school building construction process, aimed at selecting the highest quality design services for school districts. The selection of DiNisco Design Partnership, Limited for the project is a significant step towards making the necessary improvements to the J. Henry Higgins Middle School that will result in a vastly improved educational environment for its students.

“The Designer Selection Panel is another innovative way the MSBA helps communities across Massachusetts to build and finance efficient, sustainable and affordable schools. By choosing a designer, Peabody moves an important step closer to identifying the best solutions for the J. Henry Higgins Middle School,” said Treasurer Grossman.

“This is a great milestone for both the MSBA and Peabody,” stated Katherine Craven, MSBA Executive Director. “We look forward to continuing our work with the city in creating an improved learning environment for the students and teachers in this district.”

The statute that created the MSBA places tremendous emphasis on planning, due diligence and prioritization of MSBA resources. The DSP is authorized to select designers, programmers and other entities providing feasibility studies in connection with public school construction projects seeking funding from the MSBA and whose construction cost will potentially be $5 million or more. The DSP, which includes the participation of local officials associated with a project, plays a critical role in the selection and recommendation of the best available design firms for the modernization and construction of Massachusetts public school facilities so that precious state dollars are invested in better designed schools that are structurally safe and encourage student learning.