Pickering Middle School

Building Project



What is the timeline for the Pickering School Building project?

This project is expected to take anywhere from five to seven years given the rigorous and multi-step process the MSBA requires. The process began in April 2021 when the MSBA invited the City of Lynn into the Eligibility Period following the submittal of a Statement of Interest (SOI). It is anticipated that construction or renovation of Pickering Middle School, at the earliest, may begin in 2024 with project completion in 2026/2027. Final Project Schedule will be determined in a later design phase.

What sites were considered for the Pickering Middle School Project?

The following sites were  reviewed by LeftField (Owner’s Project Manager), Raymond Design Associates (Project Architect), and the Pickering School Building Committee (SBC):

1.Gowdy Park

2.Former Union Hosptial Site


4.Rockdale Ave.


6.Magnolia Ave. Park

For more detailed information on Site Selection, including site selection criteria and more information about each site considered, please view the presentation links below.

Pickering School Building Project Update – SBC Site Selection Presentation

What site was selected for the Pickering Middle School Project by the School Building Committee (SBC)?

At the December 21, 2022 School Building Committee (SBC) Meeting, SBC members unanimously to approve the selection of the Magnolia Park Site as the preferred site for the new Pickering Middle School. Below are links to the Site Selection Public Forum recording/presentations and the December 21, 2022 SBC Meeting recording/presentation.

12/19/22 Site Selection Public Forum Presentation

12/19/22 Site Selection Public Forum Recording

12/21/22 School Building Committee Meeting Presentation

12/21/22 School Building Committee Meeting Recording


What Design Options were considered for the Pickering Middle School Project at Magnolia/Pickering/Sission Sites?

Option #5A – Code Upgrade

$ 71,384,011 – for informational purposes only – doesn’t meet educational program

Option #5B – Addition/Renovation

$ 203,825,858 – requires property takings & swing space – more disruptive & longer schedule

Option #6A – Magnolia Park

$ 195,675,500 – floodplain & soil issues = extensive, expensivw foundations

Option #6B – Bridge to Sisson  

$ 199,982,833 – fewer floodplain & soil issues – more square footage, replace Sisson play area @ Magnolia Park

Option #7 – Sisson Grounds  

$ 170,071,331 least floodplain impact – five-story scale at abutting properties

What Design Option was selected for the Pickering Middle School Project by the School Building Committee (SBC) at Magnolia/Pickering/Sission Sites?

At the April 10, 2023 School Building Committee (SBC) Meeting, SBC members unanimously to approve the selection of Design Option #7: Sisson Grounds as the preferred option for the new Pickering Middle School. Below are links to the April 10, 2023 SBC Meeting recording/presentation.

04/10/23 Site Selection Public Forum/SBC Presentation

04/10/23 Site Selection Public Forum/SBC Recording


What will happen to the existing Pickering Middle School now that "New Construction" has been chosen?

The Lynn School Committee will determine what the existing school will be utilized as.

How much will the project cost? How will the project be paid for?

The estimated total cost of the Pickering School Building Project is between $71M and $203M; however, the actual total project will be unknown until the Feasibility Study is completed. The MSBA will reimburse the City of Lynn for eligible project costs during construction. The reimbursement rates are dependent upon various socioeconomic factors, as well as limitations related to square footage, with a minimum base rate of 31 percent up to a maximum of 80 percent. Several factors can increase the MSBA’s reimbursement rate, including a community income factor, community property factor and community poverty factor.


What is the Preferred Schematic Report?

The purpose of the Preferred Schematic Report (PSR) is to summarize the process and conclusions of the Preliminary and Final Evaluation of Design Alternatives. The Final Evaluation shall include at least three potential alternatives. Potential alternatives include:

  • Code Upgrade (Typically not Reimbursed by MSBA/Solely paid by the City/Town)
  • Renovation to existing building(s)
  • Renovation/Addition to existing building(s)
  • New Construction

The Project is targeting submitting the PSR to the MSBA in April 2023 for MSBA Board Approval in June 2023. The Project will then move into the Schematic Design Phase.



What is Schematic Design?

Schematic Design is the process of developing the preferred concept for the building and site and to identify and establish the full scope of work and schedule for the project to the degree that costs for construction and total project costs can be confidently established for the duration of the project.

When will construction begin?

It is anticipated that construction will begin in Fall 2024 pending project approval.

Construction Schedule


As a parent of two students at Sisson, a concern of mine is outside time. Since our students do not have space within the school for lunch or specials, their only time out of the classroom is during recess or gym. Currently we utilize the tennis court for gym and the school yard for recess, so where would that take place during construction for the next 2 years?

During the summer prior to the start of construction on the existing play areas, new playground areas will be constructed for use by the Sisson students throughout construction.

I understand that there will be adjustments made during construction, but how is there not a concern for quality of learning? It seems like a major construction site that’s taking place during learning hours would inhibit a child’s learning capabilities.

Most new schools in Massachusetts are built adjacent to existing schools due to the lack of available land.  Construction methodologies have evolved and improved to limit noise and disruptions.  Any potentially disruptive work will be coordinated for after school hours.  We will monitor closely and coordinate with the school administration on a daily basis.

Our home faces Euclid Avenue a little less than a mile from Sisson/Pickering as well as other schools in the area. Traffic is already a serious issue, especially at the start and end of school days. It is literally gridlock at these times. With the enrollment increase at Pickering, I hope the school committee (city council to increase budget by necessary amount) will fund more busses from shorter distances. I heard more parking spaces will be available but cars still have to get to those parking spots. We already avoid leaving our home between 7:30am and 8:30 am on weekdays. I assume the traffic jam period will expand (as well as in afternoon).

We are working with a Traffic Consultant to review the traffic conditions on the roads surrounding the school.  They have analyzed the existing conditions and have projected the impact to traffic of the additional students and are in the process of making recommendations to ensure that conditions are not worse than what currently exists.  We would like to be able to improve the conditions where possible.

I was told that efforts are being made for a smaller project to diminish costs, even possibly eliminating air conditioning?

We will not be eliminating air-conditioning  but we are making every effort to provide an educationally appropriate and efficient school while remaining fiscally responsible.  We understand the City’s funding limitations and will make smart financial discussions to provide a school that is durable and functional.

The City Leaders must find a way to fund the full project. Good schools are key to growing our city in a positive way. We cannot build a school that will not fully educate our children in every way. We will only have to renovate in the near future.

We agree and in order to secure partial State funding, we are tasked with providing a school that will endure for a minimum of 50 years, from an educational and durability perspective.


Who are the parties involved in the Middle School Project?

School Building Committee (“SBC”)

The Pickering Middle School Building Committee (“SBC”) is made up of the Pickering Middle School Advisory Committee which consists of City and School employees/officials and members of the Community for the purpose of generally monitoring the MSBA Application process and to advise the City of Lynn during the construction of the Project.

List of SBC Members

Massachusetts School Building Authority (“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.

Massachusetts School Building Authoirty Website

LeftField- Owner’s 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.

LeftField Website

Raymond Design Associeats – Project Architect

As a firm, RDA’s focus is on delivering value: Architecture that inspires a sense of community at an affordable price. Learning environments (like students) must be able to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. We design flexible, easy-to-maintain, energy-efficient schools that stand the test of time. At the same time, we know that cities and towns across the Commonwealth are grappling with the financial realities of aging infrastructure and omnipresent demands on their limited funding, and we understand full well that our job is to deliver maximum “Return on Investment” (ROI) for the projects we undertake.

The design of a school plays an important role in supporting students as they begin their journey as life-long learners. Our learning environments provide for differentiated instruction, curriculum innovation, and changes in pedagogy. Together with our district and stakeholder partners , we facilitate smart decisions about how your building is configured, identify appropriate program adjacencies, and recommend furnishings, technologies, and building systems that facilitate inspired learning

RDA Website

What is the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)?

The City of Lynn is working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on the Pickering School Building project. The MSBA is a quasi-independent government agency that funds capital improvement projects in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ public schools. The MSBA “work[s] with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy-efficient schools across Massachusetts.” It has a dedicated revenue stream of one penny of the Commonwealth’s 6.25 percent sales tax. Since 2004, the MSBA has made more than $15.6B in reimbursement payments to school districts for school construction projects.


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 go to learn more information about this project? How can I stay informed?

The Pickering SBC is committed to an inclusive, transparent process. As the project progresses, there will be considerable opportunities for public input and community engagement, including stakeholder surveys and public meetings. The project website has information to stay informed, such as relevant news articles, meeting agendas, minutes and video recordings of Pickering SBC meetings. The project website will be updated regularly as new information is available. Pickering SBC meetings are also posted regularly and open to the public. Please direct any further questions to the Project Email: (info@pickeringmsbuildingproject.com).