Wakefield Memorial High School

Building Project


What is the Wakefield Memorial High School Project?

In April, 2019, the Town of Wakefield submitted a Statement of Interest to the MSBA for Wakefield Memorial High School. The Statement of Interest was the first step in partnering with the MSBA for a potential new Wakefield Memorial High School. In December 2019 the MSBA invited the Town to enter into the Eligibility Period which required the Town to provide certain documentation necessary meet the MSBA requirements to proceed into the MSBA Core Program and conduct a Feasibility Study.  Having fulfilled the requirements, in December 2020 the MSBA Board formally issued an invitation to the Town to conduct a feasibility study. 

During the Feasibility Study, the Town and its team will collaborate with the MSBA to document existing conditions, generate an initial space summary based on the School Department’s educational program, establish design parameters, develop and evaluate preliminary and final design alternatives, and recommend the most cost effective and educationally appropriate solution for a new High School. 

The Feasibility Study is a requirement under of the MSBA’s multi-step approval process in order to qualify for state funded reimbursement for a potential future building project.

Why do we need a new High School?

Wakefield Memorial High School (“WMHS”) was originally built as a Junior High School in 1960. In 1972, the Junior High was converted into the current WMHS through the construction of major additions to the north and south of the school. Since then, except for some relatively small improvements and modifications made toward meeting the accreditation requirements, the High School has remained virtually untouched.

In 2016 a comprehensive facilities assessment was completed and presented to the Wakefield Permanent Building Committee. The study highlighted numerous physical building challenges, the most significant being related to the buildings envelope and lack of thermal insulation in the exterior walls, poor ventilation and air quality of the mechanical systems, outdated electrical and fire alarm systems, insufficient plumbing and large sections of the building that are not ADA/MAAB compliant.

The facilities assessment also highlighted programmatic constraints that hamper the High School’s ability to provide a learning environment consistent with the District’s Educational Program. There are educational program deficiencies and challenges within the building related to overcrowding, spatial provisions, configurations and adjacencies which limit the rational and functional relationship of programs within the building. Likewise, the absence of some key types of educational and support spaces exacerbates the educational challenges faced.

The District is also faced with an ongoing situation regarding accreditation of the High School. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC”) concurred with the facilities assessment regarding overcrowding and inadequate spaces within of facilities necessary to meet today’s curriculum. The District was put in notice in October 2011 that these conditions must be improved. As of March 2019, the High School has been notified by NEASC that the accreditation status has been changed from “warning” to “probation”.

Who are the parties involved in the High School Project?

Wakefield Permanent Building Committee/Wakefield School Building Committee (PBC/SBC”)
The Wakefield Permanent Building Committee (“PBC”) oversees all projects for design, construction, reconstruction, renovation, alteration, or enlargement of any building owned by the Town, or undertaken on land owned or leased by the Town of Wakefield.

The PBC has the sole authority to procure engineering and architectural services, award bids for construction, enter into contracts on behalf of the Town with respect to matters within its authority, and administer such contracts in accordance with applicable law.

The Wakefield High School Building Committee (“SBC”) is made up of the Wakefield Permanent Building Committee together with the Wakefield High School Advisory Committee which consists of Town and School employees/officials and members of the Community for the purpose of generally monitoring the MSBA Application process and to advise the Town of Wakefield during the construction of the Project.

Massachusetts School Building Committee (“MSBA”)
The Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) is a quasi-independent government authority created to reform the process of funding capital improvement projects in the Commonwealth’s public schools. The MSBA strives to work with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient schools across Massachusetts.

The MSBA’s grant program for school building construction and renovation projects is a non-entitlement competitive program. The MSBA’s Board of Directors approves grants based on need and urgency as expressed by the City, Town, Regional School District or independent agricultural and technical school and validated by the MSBA.

LeftField – Owners Project Manager (“OPM”)
LeftField is an Owner’s Representative and Project Management firm, established in 2007. We specialize in owners project management services and have significant experience in the public sector, working with municipalities and building authorities. Leftfield’s staff has managed over $1.5 billion in MSBA-funded projects since MSBA’s inception in 2004. As Owners Project Managers, we work in conjunction with the Owner serving as an extension of their staff. Our primary role is to protect the Owner’s interests, to ensure that the Owner is well-served and that the established goals and objectives are met in the most efficient manner, physically and fiscally.

Designer – TBD
The Design Firm will be selected through the MSBA Designer Selection Panel. The appointment is expected to be made by early September 2021.

What is the MSBA process?

The MSBA has developed eight distinct modules that are intended to provide a guide to the procedures and approvals needed for the MSBA and the District to work together in a collaborative manner.

The “Program Overview” and listing of eight modules can be viewed here: 

Where can I get more information?

Visit the project website at www.wakefieldMHSproject.com

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

Email the project team at info@wakefieldmhsproject.com