Facilities & Capital Planning
The Braintree Public School (BPS) system services close to 6,000 students from pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade in one preschool center based at Braintree High School, the Monatiquot School Kindergarten Center, six neighborhood elementary schools (all serving grades 1-5 with five housing at least one section of full day Kindergarten), two grade 6-8 middle schools, and one grade 9-12 high school. Beyond the academic day and year, students are able to access multiple opportunities in academic and social clubs and activities, visual and performing arts, athletics, and extended year support services and programs.
You can find more detailed information about each of our school buildings, including general facility information, and capital improvements completed for the last several years, on "Building Information & Capital Improvements" page.
The BPS has been experiencing steady enrollment growth for the last fifteen (15) years, gaining just over 1,400 students during that time period: as of October, 2017 our enrollment was 5,890. This growth speaks to the quality of life and opportunities for new residents and families, and is reflective of the fact that Braintree is a mature community with a broad residential and business base. The Town is serviced by both the MBTA Commuter Rail and “T,” and provides a convenient location for those commuting into Boston and to Logan International Airport. Current and new residents feel that people are attracted to Braintree as a good place to live and work because it has an excellent public school system. Braintree also offers a number of well-maintained public parks and a dynamic recreation program.
This growth has brought some challenges for our schools, one of which has been the availability of classroom space. When coupled with our core value of providing outstanding in-district special education programming, many of our schools have had to find creative solutions to gain needed classrooms. While space constraints are an issue, there has also been the need to simultaneously update our facilities. An overview of these efforts and our future plans is provided below.
Joseph C. Sullivan was elected as the first Mayor of Braintree in 2007, shortly after the Town restructured from a town meeting/selectmen to a mayor/council form of government. Prior to the so-called "new" form of government, capital funding projects and the general operational budget required approval at the annual town meeting. Upon taking office, and after managing through a major economic downturn, the Mayor began an ambitious program of town-wide capital improvements, including school facility upgrade and renovation projects. With the full support of the Braintree School Committee, of which the Mayor is a voting member, as well as the Braintree Town Council, the Town of Braintree has invested over $17mil in various capital improvements through 2016. A significant portion of the $17 million has been provided by Mayor Sullivan through a $1 million per year allocation from local funds for capital improvements for all of our schools.
These upgrades and renovations are detailed, by school, on the "Our Schools" page, and include several Green Repair projects and one Core Program project for South Middle School in partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). For more information about working with the MSBA, click: Working with MSBA.
BPS projects have been done at the following schools with funding support from the MSBA (for more information, see MSBA BPSProjects):
- Archie T Morrison – Green Repair
- Braintree High – Green Repair
- East Middle School – Green Repair & Core Program
- Highlands – Green Repair
- Hollis – Green Repair
- South Middle School – Core Program
In addition to the upgrades described above, the BPS made significant progress in building a robust technology infrastructure with the help of its successful bid for a grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (DESE) Office of Digital Learning. The $1.2mil Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant (including local matching funds) brought every school building in Braintree high-speed Ethernet and wireless access during the 2015-2016 school year. Since that time, local funds have been dedicated to bringing a substantial number of devices into the BPS. Our success with this effort was highlighted by the DESE: watch here. The BPS continues to improve upon this work, as well as support the implementation of a 1:1 BYOD initiative at Braintree High School through the Mayor's yearly capital funding allocation.
Expansion & Renovations: Current & Future Plans
As part of an effort to plan for a long-term solve for space constraints at the elementary level, a study was commissioned and provided by house architect Habeeb & Associates in May of 2012. This study presented five options with multiple subsets and included both short and long-term solutions. Most of the options included upgrades and additions to all 6 elementary schools, while one option included building a 7th elementary school. The final option proposed building four new elementary schools over a 10 year period of time. Total cost estimates based on $175/sf for upgrades and $350/sf for new construction ranged from $21-$36mil for short-term solutions, and $66-123mil for long-term solutions, up to and including four new schools. This study was still under discussion by the School Building Committee in the fall of 2015. The latest estimates for renovation and new construction are $327/sf and $491/sf, respectively.
In March of 2013, the BPS submitted a Statement of Interest to the MSBA for renovations to EMS, one of two grade 6-8 middle schools that serves approximately 730 students. At that time, the goal of the project was to upgrade systems, technology, windows, fire protection and provide other improvements in order to create a safer and more efficient building. The study was well underway during the fall and winter of 2015 when the BPS decided to approach the MSBA about the feasibility of moving 5th graders from the respective sending elementary schools to EMS as part of a system-wide comprehensive strategy to alleviate enrollment driven space constraints at the elementary level. While considering this option, the BPS also received notice from the MSBA that the previously submitted Statement of Interest for Liberty Elementary School would not be forwarded to the Eligibility phase. This notification gave further support to the idea of mitigating space constraints at the elementary level through two building projects at the middle school level that would accommodate all grade five students, as opposed to the multiple elementary building projects previously being considered.
The new BPS grade configuration plan would move all grade five students to our two middle schools, primarily utilizing the same districting pattern that is currently in place. EMS would continue to serve four elementary schools, one of which would now send all of their students to EMS as opposed to the current practice of sending approximately 50% to EMS and 50% to South Middle School (SMS). SMS would serve our remaining two elementary schools. After receiving support from the MSBA in late January of 2016 to explore an addition to EMS, the proposal for reconfiguring our six elementary schools to serve grades 1-4 and our two middle schools to serve grades 5-8 was adopted by the BSC after two public hearings in the late winter of 2016, and the EMS project reentered the MSBA Eligibility Period.
The BPS formed a Middle School Transition Team (MSTT) in the spring of 2016, which includes teachers, parents and administrators in grades 5-8 and is co-chaired by our middle school principals. The MSTT is charged with providing input and feedback into all aspects of the grade 5-8 reconfiguration in BPS, and its cross school representation serves to bring coherence to our 5-8 philosophy and programming, while protecting the unique character and qualities of both schools.
Date: September 6, 2017
Dear Staff, Guardians and Students:
A copy of our district’s Asbestos Management Plan is available in each school and at the main administrative office during regular school hours.
The district continues to update and improve the AHERA Asbestos Management Plans. Any inquiries regarding the management of asbestos-containing materials in our schools should be directed to our district’s AHERA Designated Person, Chris McNamara who can be reached at CMcNamara@braintreema.gov or (781) 380-0130.