Design Plan Submitted portrays very accurate information on ALL Locations

The 3024 page submission for the Cawley Site is available on-line at the City Website. I will commend SKANSKA and the CITY for submitting a very accurate report on all the options and on the current divide in the city. Regardless of the vote, in my view the City has submitted an honest, open, thorough plan with the pro’s and con’s listed for the final chosen site.

Interesting to note that if you look at the normal template for this type of submission it is generally signed by the Chief Executive Officer – Superintendent of Schools – Chair of the School Committee yet this one is signed TWICE by the City Manager, the 2nd time as Chair of the School Building Committee.

The city’s submittal of the Statement of interest was signed by
Chief Executive Officer Michael Q. Geary Acting City Manager * School Committee Chair Rodney M. Elliott
Superintendent of Schools Jean M. Franco

Below are some Highlights that I thought were worth sharing.

3.3.4 Preferred Solution
The Preferred Solution was not a unanimous choice among the School Building
Committee, nor the City Council and has been noted as an emotionally split decision
within the community, the likes of which have not been seen in the recent past.
Despite this division, much of the focus has remained on what’s best for the students
along with the community as a whole. It is within these discussions that very different
and charged opinions arise.

The two primary trains-of-thought on what is best for the students are on one-hand,
the desire to keep the school down town so that the students most-in-need have
ready access to the school and city services (incl. library, boys/girls clubs, city health,
etc.), as well as maintaining direct connections to the school/city history & character.
On the other hand, some consider what is best to be nullifying construction impact of
3+ years on students/staff and the city as a whole, while also providing a more ideal
and efficient school, removed from the city center and better connected to green
space. These led to strong support for both the Addition/Renovation Option-3 w/
adjacent land taking and the new 5-Story Option at the Cawley site, each receiving 9
votes of endorsement from SBC members.

Both options would require busing, either to other facilities/green space for sports
and after school programs, or for daily access to school. The latter being the more
substantial, but also cited as something that should occur even if the school remains
down-town so that students do not pay their own bus fares via the LRTA. It was also
noted that either option meets the Educational Program and space needs, including
layout and adjacencies, but that many elements of the design could be done a little
better in all new. A few examples of this are having no basement spaces, ideal
orientation, more energy efficient envelope, having very visible/connected pull-out
spaces (at each STEM/Humanities cluster), having the Auditorium connected to the
‘Heart’ of the school and having less complicated zones, corridors and access points

The Preferred Option, selected in a 5 to 4 vote among City Councilors was for the new 5-story plan at the Cawley site. The plan consists of two major wings; one a 5-story academic wing of twin double-loaded corridors oriented for predominantly North/South facing classrooms and having centralized light-wells, the other a 3-story wing housing all major activity/community use spaces and the main office/lobby. The lobby connects through to
both sides of the building, allowing controlled access to separate bus and car loops and is set up for good visibility from the main office and/or security. The main floor of the academic wing includes the majority of shared or specialty labs, such as Visual Arts, Business and Technology, making them neutrally accessible to all grades, but also zoned for potential after-hours uses. The main lobby is set-up to connect the Cafeteria and Auditorium vertically and visibly to the Media Center

I. Design and Construction Schedule
Design Schedule – are estimated as follows:
Schematic Design July 31, 2017 – March 22, 2018
Design Development June 1, 2018 – January 31, 2019
Construction Documents February 1, 2019 – November 29, 2019
Construction Schedules –are estimated as follows:
Early Bid Package 1 May 1, 2019 – June 13, 2109
Early Bid Package 2 June 12, 2019 – July 19, 2019
Construction Start EBP 1 July 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020
Full Bid December 1, 2019 – January 31, 2020
Construction Balance February 1, 2020 – June 30, 2022
Substantial Completion June 30, 2022
Closeout July 1, 2022 – October 1, 2022
Occupancy August 15, 2022

Some Obstacles still facing the Cawley Site

The City of Lowell spoke with Steve Sadwick, Director of Tewksbury’s Department of
Community Development to discuss approvals and permits required for the potential
construction of the new high school at the Cawley site. Tewksbury’s initial response
regarding the relief needed for the parking lot proposed North of the athletic field
adjacent to Clark Rd is as follows:
– File Notice of Intent with the Tewksbury Conservation Commission for both
Wetlands Protection Act and local wetlands bylaw
– File Site Plan Review Special Permit with the Planning Board
– File Paving/Street opening permit (for parking lot and curb cut in Tewksbury)
– File Land Disturbance Permit from Planning Board (per local stormwater bylaw) –
can be waived if project is already before Conservation Commission or Planning
Board (as in this case)
No other building permits would appear to be required. However, Tewksbury would
not commit to a determination of the use for this parking lot (educational use or commercial parking lot use) and wanted to review it with Town Counsel and the Building Commissioner. This determination could impact if the use would need a separate Special Permit.

The building has been located outside of the 100’ wetland buffer. To meet parking
requirements parking will be located within the 50-100’ buffer in Tewksbury (where
there is a 50’ “No Build” and within the 25’-50’ buffer in Lowell.
Pedestrian circulation around the site will be created to connect the school with the
existing and new fields. Based on the traffic analysis by Bryant Associates it is
anticipated
that an additional 12,000 LF of sidewalk will be required along the length
of Clark Road and Douglas Road to assure the safety of students walking to school.
This may necessitate the taking down of trees, rock walls, and some private property
may need to be acquired.

The traffic study indicated that relocating the school to the Cawley site would have a
more significant impact due to the added traffic volumes that would occur in the
residential neighborhood. Due to the increase in traffic and projected poor levels of
service, intersection improvements (retiming/rephrasing of the existing traffic signals
along Rogers Street (Route 38), signing, striping, potential roadway widening to
accommodate turn lanes, etc.) can be investigated to improve operations. The traffic
survey indicated the students that currently walk or use the LRTA bus to get to school
at the downtown location, would need to be bused to and from the Cawley site (53%
am / 60% pm). The traffic study indicated that sidewalks with accessible curbs and
crosswalks should be considered at one side of Clark Road and Douglas Road to
provide a connection for pedestrians between Andover Street (Route 133) and
Rogers Street (Route 33) and the proposed school site. The study also determined
that if the school would move to the Cawley site, the project parking demand is
approximately 850 spaces on-site.

The City also performed investigations related to costs beyond the scope of this
MSBA project such as busing (yellow school buses) and off-site improvements such
as the sidewalk and possible road widenings at Rogers Street, and upgrading /
installing additional pedestrian signal head and pushbuttons at signalized
intersections on Rogers Street/Main Street (Route 38).

As a result, the Cawley 5-story option was developed to provide a smaller building
footprint that allowed for the 850 parking spaces. Also, the City was able to factor in
the that the City would incur for the busing and off-site improvements when
evaluating the Design Options.

Should the Cawley site be chosen, the team will need to further study the site layout
in order to establish the preferred traffic patterns for students, staff, visitors, buses,
as well as the specific traffic mitigation measures that are required. All work on state
roads will need to be reviewed by and coordinated with Mass DOT. As the traffic
pattern evolves, additional traffic studies will likely be required.

The Cawley Site is located between Rogers Street, Douglas Road, Village Street and
Clark Road. The site is approximately 43.24 acres with 5.14± acres being located
within the Town of Tewksbury and the remaining 38.1 in Lowell. The site is split
between zones SSF and RR in Lowell and R40 in Tewksbury. The site is currently
home to the Cawley Memorial Stadium and Martin Athletic Complex which includes
the Cawley Memorial Stadium, Martin Softball Field, Carvalho Field, Stoklosa Field,
Desmond Field, Machedo Field and a practice softball field and multi-use field.
This site plan leaves the Cawley Stadium intact. The buildable area of the site is
bisected at this point leaving the northern portion totaling 23.5 acres available to
locate a new school. Other constraints include a wetland to the north with an
associated 100’ buffer, and the Tewksbury property line to the east. The new building
is located within this buildable area of the site and rotated for optimum north south
classroom orientation. The new building has a primary and secondary entrance with
expansive entrance plazas located at both.

Due to the Cawley site’s location and lack of transit service, this site will require 46
dedicated buses as well as up to 11 special education buses. Buses will be limited
to students living more than 1 mile away from the school as well as anyone living on
the Rogers Street and Andover Street since these are busy roads and dangerous
pedestrian crossing points.

This scheme features a completely separate bus and car drop off. The bus drop off is
located
off of Village Street at the primary entrance with stacking available for 46
buses. Stacking for an additional 11 special vans at this drop off is also provided.
The main entrance drive is located off of Village Street to the north of Cawley
Stadium and wraps counter clockwise around the stadium. This drive is one-way and
provides access to the bus drop off, staff and visitor parking and student parking.
Restricted access to the site is also located off of Douglas Road and could be used
for daily circulation or just emergency access. Parent drop off is located at the
secondary entrance and contains stacking for approximately 38 cars. It is estimated
that the drop off requirements will be 775 parents in the morning and 423 in the
afternoon.

Road widenings and signalized intersections may need to be considered to mitigate
the negative effects of generated traffic. Internal circulation patterns will continue to
be vetted with the City to create the least amount of traffic impacts to the
neighborhood

The building has been located outside of the 100’ wetland buffer. To meet parking
requirements parking will be located within the 50-100’ buffer in Tewksbury (where
there is a 50’ “No Build” and within the 25’-50’ buffer in Lowell.
Pedestrian circulation around the site will be created to connect the school with the
existing and new fields. Based on the traffic analysis by Bryant Associates it is
anticipated that an additional 12,000 LF of sidewalk will be required along the length
of Clark Road and Douglas Road to assure the safety of students walking to school.
This may necessitate the taking down of trees, rock walls, and some private property
may need to be acquired.

Athletics: The high school will be within the same campus as the majority of the
Athletic Facilities allowing students to use the fields during both physical education
classes and for after school sports. It is anticipated that Shedd Park and Umass
Lowell Boathouse will still continue to be used and students bused to these
locations.
In this scheme the following fields will need to be removed/replaced:
• Martin Softball Field- Used for Varsity Softball
• Practice Softball Field
• Field Hickey Field-Field Hockey and Lacrosse
• Machado Field- JV and Varsity Football and track and Field
• Desmond Field- Freshman Football and track and Field
This plan relocates the Field Hockey Field and Martin Softball field on the site as
required by Article 97. The remaining fields noted above will be located off-site.

Historically, the Cawley Site has been either undeveloped or improved with athletic
recreational fields. Most of the current Site was historically owned by the Lowell High
School Alumni Association, who over time sold portions of the land to the City of Lowell
on the condition that the land be used as athletic fields.

 The entire Cawley Site falls within the “Protected Open Space” hatching on a MassDEP
21E Priority Resource Map. Wetlands are illustrated in the northwestern most region of
the Site. The map indicates several potential vernal pool locations and one or two small
Estimated Rare Wetland Wildlife Habitats located on undeveloped portions of the northern
parcels of the Site