Story of a Building Seminar - May 2018

Story of a Building Seminar, May 2018 (Walpole, MA)
Norfolk County Agricultural High School

Presented by:

  • The Office of the Inspector General MCPPO Program
  • The Massachusetts School Building Authority
  • The Norfolk County Agricultural High School Superintendent, Business Manager and High School Staff
Story of a Building - May 2018

{L/R Barbara Hansberry, Director of Strategic Planning - MSBA, Pete Murphy, Facilities Director - Norfolk Aggie, Dr. Tammy Quinn, Superintendent - Norfolk Aggie, Jack McCarthy, Executive Director - MSBA, Glenn Cunha, MA Inspector General}

On May 1, 2018, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General’s Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO) program joined the school building Team from Norfolk Aggie to continue the tradition of offering best practices advice from a school building team that completed a building project with the MSBA. Please find the agenda here.

Norfolk Aggie’s building project consisted of both new construction and building renovation on its School Campus. While budgets always drive building project choices, Norfolk Aggie’s story is an extreme example of setting and adhering to a budget as the County’s funding agreement with the High School contained a maximum acceptable debt load amount with no wiggle room for additional funding. Priority was given to building improvements and new construction that would enhance Programs and make space for additional students from Norfolk Aggie’s long wait list. You can find the PowerPoint of the presentation here.

The decision making was maximized by deft design decisions and close budget monitoring. However, the default of its contractor during the early phase of construction challenged the Team’s budget and schedule. The Story of Norfolk Aggie’s building project ended in triumph. Through expert guidance from their OPM and Designer and the cool heads of the school building committee, a successful transition to a new contractor was made and an awesome project was completed. You can find the PowerPoint presentation for this segment here.

Other training session highlights included an informative presentation from Daniel Wilson, Chair of Harvard University’s Learning Environments for Tomorrow Institute, entitled, What Makes Learning Environments Effective?  This presentation captivated attendees as Daniel challenged us with facts about school design, such as pointing out that the layout of schools and classrooms stood still for a hundred years, even while much information about human behavior and the way we learn was developed. Now that we have clear information about individual learning styles, school design is reflecting that knowledge - more collaborative work environments, display areas to showcase work products and informal areas outfitted with technology, whiteboards and soft seating to accommodate the less formal styles of teaching and learning that current students are preferring. Daniel’s PowerPoint attached here presents ideas from real world educational spaces to emphasize his points.

Story of a Building - May 2018

{Daniel Wilson, Chair of Harvard University’s Learning Environments for Tomorrow Institute}

And, lastly, attendees heard a panel discussion with the Superintendent and consultant team for Northbridge Public Schools and how the Town came to an agreement on its preferred school building project solution; and the factors that contributed to the decision. The Town used the opportunity of a building project to engage its educators, parents and citizens in visioning sessions about different methods of teaching and learning. Cost estimates received and equity concerns convinced the Town that the preferred option that makes the most economic sense is a new elementary school and a new grade configuration for the school from Grades 2-4 to Pre K-5. To review the Northbridge presentation, please click here.

Story of a Building - May 2018

{L/R Barbara Hansberry, Director of Strategic Planning - MSBA, Joel Seeley, OPM - SMMA and Catherine Stickney, Ed.D, Northbridge Superintendent and school building team}

For information, resources, and presentations from the 2017 Story of A Building Seminar at West Bridgewater Middle Senior High School: Best Practices in School Furniture Planning, Selection and Procurement, please visit the Story of A Building, 2017 Webpage.

For other information and resources pertaining to Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF+E), please visit the MSBA FF+E Product and Cost Information Webpage.

Tour of Norfolk County Agricultural High School

The day included a tour of the agricultural school campus and a delicious lunch in the cafeteria. You will find some inspiring photos of the students and their school below. From the formal feedback collected, we know that attendees were satisfied with the content and found the lessons learned and shared by the presenters to be practical, numerous and informative. For more information about the educational program at Norfolk County Agricultural High School, please visit: