Swing Space, Traffic & Safety

Moving Lynch students off-site, Pedestrian, Bike, & Vehicular Traffic & Safety

SWING SPACE - a temporary location for students during construction

Swing space is an important element of the New Lynch and consideration of design options as they are developed. During the MSBA Designer Selection process, the finalist architecture & engineering teams all noted the need for some measure of swing space to build the new school and early concepts from Tappé Architects confirm this. Early conceptual siting and massing studies shared with the EFPBC in December suggest the need for at least 8 to 10 classrooms moved off-site while others require the entire Lynch be vacated.

Swing space can be an essential element of project success on both a short and long-term basis and can provide economic benefits in lower construction bids when sites are fully vacated:

  • Short term: provides much-needed space for construction vehicles & materials (lay down area). Eliminates noise, vibration and other distractions of construction from the nearby learning environment. Limits neighborhood traffic by moving some or all of Lynch off site.

  • Long term: In some instances, partial or even complete swing space is required to facilitate the siting and construction of a new school when the preferred option involves a conflicting overlap of new building footprint/excavation versus the existing structure. When sites can be completely vacated (as was the case with our last three elementary school projects), we expect to see lower overall costs as many of the challenging logistics of construction on an occupied site with young children are eliminated.

SWING SPACE - past experience & present-day options

Winchester's last three major elementary school construction or renovation projects have enjoyed the availability of swing space for the entire school community. Lincoln Elementary School students moved to the Mystic School and Parkhurst School to permit a full renovation and restoration of the historic Lincoln building and Parkhurst welcomed the Ambrose and Vinson-Owen communities to accommodate full tear-down and rebuilds of both schools (2004-2006 and 2011-2013, respectively).

Since the opening of the Vinson-Owen Elementary School in 2013, the Parkhurst School has been home to the district's central administrative offices and-- more recently-- four Pre-K classrooms relocated from Lynch for the 2021-22 school year. Recognizing the value of the Parkhurst School as instructional space and potential swing space for the New Lynch, the Winchester School Committee voted in September of 2021 to reaffirm the historic Sanborn Carriage House (on the Ambrose campus) as the future permanent home of the district's central administrative offices. Spring Town Meeting subsequently approved a funding request for design development for the relocation of "Central Office" to the Carriage House. Though not yet funded for construction (and not an approved New Lynch project expense), the School Committee seeks to vacate Parkhurst in time to accommodate at least some Lynch classrooms to permit construction of the new school. The School Committee and EFPBC see value in utilizing existing WPS facilities for swing space, since the MSBA excludes temporary space from any reimbursements (therefore Winchester taxpayers pay the full cost of any temporary space accommodations).

When will swing space be figured out? The preferred schematic option developed by March 2022 and submitted for MSBA approval will establish the minimum swing space needed for construction and the EFPBC may make further recommendations to better accommodate the project's bidding and construction.


Built in two phases from 1948 to 1952 at 40 Samoset Road, named for former WHS principal Lewis Parkhurst, and similar in size & configuration to the Mystic School at Symmes Corner, the Parkhurst School is an approximately 28,000sf 2-story former elementary school built into the hill at the bottom of Mt. Pisgah (Winchester's highest point!) just blocks from Ambrose Elementary and a half mile from Vinson-Owen.

Parkhurst was once one of several smaller Winchester neighborhood elementary schools from the 1950s into the 1970s. The private Bartlett School leased space at Parkhurst from 1982 through 1999. After some updating, the school served as swing space for Ambrose construction (2004-2006) and again-- after a $1M investment-- welcomed Vinson-Owen students for construction of the new V-O school (2011-2013). Once the new Vinson-Owen welcomed students back, the district's central administrative offices moved from the Lynch Elementary School to Parkhurst due to extreme enrollment growth and capacity strain at Lynch. The administrative move to Parkhurst was seen as a short- to medium-term plan until a permanent home at the Carriage House could be established. More recent investments/upgrades at Parkhurst include an elevator and stage lift for full-building accessibility.

Traffic & Safety Improvements

Traffic-- of many types-- is an important consideration for the EPFBC and MSBA. The project Traffic Engineer will prepare an existing conditions report including traffic counts for the existing vehicular volume coming on and off site as well as a parking count. This data along with a review of roadways and intersections adjacent to the current Lynch site will inform a written report that can be used in developing proposed site plan solutions for the New Lynch project.

Out of concern for existing pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic challenges at Winchester schools, and understanding that rising enrollment and expansion brings more student and car volume, the Select Board voted a policy in 2018 that calls for supplemental funding allowances in major school expansion projects for a Traffic Safety Study. These recommendations may include signage, curbing, roadway striping and signalization, pedestrian crosswalks, bicycle accommodation, and traffic calming measures adjacent to the project scope of work (McCall Middle School is a recent example of such improvements). The scope and funding for this work for Lynch has not yet been established.