Remember that the school was designed through a thoughtful visioning process that included students, educators, and families. The District then developed a comprehensive Education Plan as required by the DESE and MSBA, and the design has evolved from the underlying guiding principles contained in that plan.
The programmatic spaces in the design reflect the District’s detailed Educational Plan, which is a requirement of participating in the MSBA grant program. The MSBA takes the compilation of an Educational Plan very seriously given that it serves as the foundation for all the planning and detailed design of both the school and the site that follows. In Foster’s case, the MSBA carefully reviewed the District’s initial Educational Plan and requested clarifications and refinements. In the end, it was approved only after two detailed reviews by the MSBA. Only then was the District allowed to proceed into the schematic design phase via an MSBA Board of Directors vote.
No two MSBA-funded elementary schools look the same, though they all must conform to MSBA Guidelines and approved modifications. The new school design followed prescriptive MSBA guidelines for elementary schools, but like all other MSBA projects, it includes a limited amount of additional programmatic spaces to meet the unique needs of Hingham’s Educational Program (e.g. the Gymnasium bleachers, the Multi-Purpose Room for KIA and Field Science, Administrative Spaces for the Special Education program, etc.). The entire design being presented to the voters has been reviewed and approved by the MSBA.
The total square footage of the proposed Foster building is 126,385.
As noted above, the MSBA has prescriptive guidelines for building elementary schools including the sizes and types of various rooms. Some of the space design can vary depending on the District’s specific educational program. There is allowable square footage (most of which is reimbursable, some of which is not) in the design to accommodate some areas beyond MSBA guidelines including additional administrative and special education space, Pre-K classrooms, space for an expanded KIA program and a larger gym to provide wider sidelines and space for fan bleachers.
The MSBA provides a ‘broad brush’ square footage allotment per pupil in a District’s Space Summary (e.g., 605 K-5 pupils) by way of an algorithm, but it is only generated to set a parameter against which to review and finalize the eventual square footage required to accommodate the proposed Educational Program. It is safe to say that every elementary school approved by the MSBA has exceeded this ‘starting point.’
As an example, the 63,843 square feet of ‘net program space’ that came out of the MSBA’s algorithm for Foster was based on 605 K-5 students, a generic Special Education program, and no Pre-Kindergarten program. The approved net square footage, accommodating the District’s Educational Plan is 84,753. Reimbursable program-related overages include 11,850 sf for five Pre-Kindergarten CR’s, a Spanish CR, an English Language Learners small group room, and a Computer Lab, along with synchronizing up the number of classrooms per grade. Other approved programmatic square footage includes 3,690 sf for the school’s Special Education program (all of which is reimbursable), 1,000 sf for the aforementioned gymnasium bleachers, 1,570 sf for Special Education administrative offices, 2,500 sf for the revenue-generating Kids-in-Action multi-purpose room and office, and two other small staff spaces. When mechanical, circulation, and other ‘back of house’ areas are accounted for, the Foster school has a ‘net to gross’ ratio of 1.49 (bringing the proposed gross square footage up to its 126,385), which is under the MSBA allowable ratio of 1.50, demonstrating an efficient plan layout.