How we got here, where we're going, and our critical Massachusetts partner

MSBA - a helpful partner in Winchester's most ambitious school building projects

The Massachusetts School Building Authority-- or MSBA -- is a "quasi-independent" Massachusetts government entity under the auspices of the State Treasurer. Created in 2004, the MSBA works with local districts and communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient schools across the Commonwealth.

MSBA's funding comes in part from 1% of every state sales tax dollar (or one penny of the Massachusetts 6.25% sales tax). The MSBA has partnered with Winchester on three projects since 2010:

Lynch Elementary School Roof Replacement, 2010

Vinson-Owen Elementary School New Construction, 2011 - 2013

Winchester High School Reno & Expansion, 2015 - 2018

Partnership with the MSBA yields significant reimbursements towards eligible project costs. The Vinson-Owen project was supported with over $10M in reimbursement while Winchester High School received over a $44M grant.

The MSBA has made more than $15.4 billion in reimbursements to cities, towns, and regional school districts for school construction projects. Districts receive payments from the MSBA as costs are incurred, usually within 15 days of submitting a request.

Vinson-Owen Elementary School

New Construction 2011 - 2013 $10M MSBA Reimbursement Grant

Winchester High School

Gut Renovation & Expansion 2015 - 2018 $44M MSBA Reimbursement Grant

MSBA's Core Replacement Program - Third time's the charm

In the Spring of 2017 with the 10-year Facilities Master Plan in final draft form, the School Committee-- with the support of the Select Board-- made a strategic decision to seek partnership with the MSBA for the replacement of BOTH the Muraco and Lynch elementary schools. Having only recently completed the gut renovation and expansion of Winchester High School with the MSBA, our applications were denied. We tried again in 2018 at which time the MSBA sent their Senior Study team to Lynch and the Executive Director paid a personal visit to Muraco.

After our third attempt, the District was notified in December of 2019 of the Lynch School’s invitation to the Eligibility Period of the MSBA’s Core Replacement program. This lengthy pre-schematic phase began officially in April of 2020. It involved a more thorough documentation of project need, existing physical plant, enrollment information, housing statistics and early educational programming assumptions by the School Committee.

When the MSBA partners with a district, it’s because the Board finds the project eligible and a priority based on an evaluation of specific criteria published in the annual Statement of Interest (SOI) process. In this instance, the School Committee and Select Board identified three eligible criteria for consideration for the Muraco and Lynch elementary schools: 1) Existing Enrollment/Overcrowding, 2) Future space constraints and impact associated with additional enrollment growth and 3) Existing Physical Plant’s age, configuration and Condition.

Application to the MSBA is a time-intensive and competitive process, with between 60 to 90 projects submitted by districts each year and often fewer than ten making the cut for invitation into the pre-schematic Eligibility Phase of the Core Replacement Program. In addition to the lengthy and time-intensive due diligence process required in the Eligibility Period, the MSBA also requires towns to authorize funding for the next step of the partnership-- the Feasibility Study. Winchester Town Meeting authorized funding for the Lynch Feasibility Study in the Spring of 2020. Following an authorization to proceed, the MSBA and Winchester jointly built the project team in the spring and summer of 2021.

Master Plan

Developed 2016-17 by Boston architectural firm Flansburgh Architects, the Winchester Public Schools' Facilities Master Plan is a vision for the support, expansion, consolidation, or transformation of district facilities that provides flexibility to accommodate changes in enrollment, educational goals and programming.

After the 10-Year Facilities Master Plan was completed in July of 2017, the School Committee and Board commissioned an independent, third-party review or “second opinion” on its five-year and ten-year enrollment projections.

The UMass Donohue Institute (UMDI) was selected for this task. In November, UMDI issued its report validating the Master Plan's projected double-digit enrollment growth. A summary of this report was presented to 2017 Fall Town Meeting.

Click here for the full Winchester Validation Study by UMDI.