Lincoln, RI Lincoln School has broken ground on a state-of-the-art Little School expansion, a 4,700 s/f facility that stands as a testament to the school’s best-in-class Little School and Early Childhood program. Little School, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, offers boys and girls six weeks to 3 years old Reggio-Emilia inspired instruction with a focus on exploration and hands-on discovery. Operating on a continual waitlist throughout the year, this expansion is a critical investment in Rhode Island’s littlest learners. This is the kickoff of the $5 million Building Beginnings campaign, dedicated to the expansion and enhancement of Lincoln’s Little and Lower Schools, brought together all corners of the community, along with our project partners studioMLA out of Brookline, Mass. and Deslandes Construction of Warwick, R.I.
With hundreds of students and community members present, undeterred by snow or cold, it was a festive celebration that included Lincoln leadership: Suzanne Fogarty, head of Lincoln School, Jane Palestine Jamieson ’71, chair of the Lincoln School Board of Trustees, and Kimberly Lough, Lincoln School’s director of early childhood and Little School.
“There has long been a demand for this project, and we are so thrilled to see it come to life today. I am continuously amazed at our youngest students, who keep me inspired and full of joy day after day. I am perhaps only more amazed by the dividends a Little School education pays, like a lifelong love of learning and constant curiosity,” said Lough. “For 25 years, Lincoln’s Little School has been leading the way, and I’m excited that the next evolution of Lincoln’s campus will help elevate this already outstanding program.”
The new Little School facility was designed by studioMLA Architects, and will be built in partnership with Deslandes Construction, two companies with proven track records in school projects. The addition will feature two classrooms, a dedicated outdoor play area for all weather activities, as well as a Reggio-Emilia Studio, which brings the philosophy to life through loose parts and natural elements to encourage creative and imaginative play. Little School’s Reggio-Emilia-inspired approach honors children as individuals who are curious about their world and have the powerful potential to learn from all that surrounds them.
“studioMLA Architects has enjoyed working with the Lincoln School community and we are excited to help bring their dreams to life by building, perhaps, the most innovative and sustainable early education center in the state of Rhode Island,” said Michael Lindstrom, founding principal of studioMLA. “Together, we’re designing a building that will be simple, natural, nurturing, sustainable, and support Lincoln School’s amazing educational program.”
As a testament to the town’s Quaker tenets of environmentalism and stewardship of the earth, the building is being built in a very environmentally conscious manner. The project will be registered with the US Green Building Council and pursuing LEED Certification. LEED Certified buildings can include a highly insulated building envelope, air exchange ventilation system, use of sustainable sourced and recycled materials, energy efficient fixtures and appliances, highly efficient HVAC systems, renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic systems, and natural landscaping. Lincoln’s Little School will have no gas or oil, which means it will produce no onsite combustion and no carbon emissions.
“All of us at Deslandes Construction are looking forward to bringing over 56 years of experience to a project of this caliber. The teamwork already developed between Lincoln School, Deslandes and studioMLA Architects has made the process of design/build seamless. Together we are working towards our unified goal of achieving a LEED-certified building as well as providing a warm, welcoming environment for students,” said Jim Deslandes, president and owner of Deslandes Construction. “We are proud to be a part of furthering the growth of this best-in-class learning facility.”
Phase one of this project is scheduled for completion in July. The second phase of the Building Beginnings campaign will expand and enhance the Lower School, and is slated to begin in 2021.