For a glossary of key project-related terms and acronyms, please click here


Tyngsborough Middle School Facility History

The two-story Tyngsborough Middle School was built in 1968 to serve as the Town’s first comprehensive Jr./Sr. High School. In 1992, a new Jr./Sr. High School was constructed, and the current middle school became an elementary school. As a result, many classrooms and labs were renovated and/or removed to accommodate the needs of elementary school programming. In March of 2002, students in grades 1-5 moved into a brand new Tyngsborough Elementary School, and the Tyngsborough Middle School was created to house students in grades 6-8. This change not only solved overcrowding issues at the Jr./Sr. High School, but also allowed the District to establish a middle school and a high school in two separate buildings.

Although no additions have ever been constructed to the middle school, several renovation projects have taken place over the years, starting with the replacement of the main building roof and adding a concrete access ramp at the front entrance in 1994. In 1995, two handicapped-accessible bathrooms were added on the first floor as well as a limited access elevator in the center of the main building. A second limited access elevator was added to the gymnasium side of the building in 1997. In 1998, the gymnasium section of the building received a new roof.

Despite the above renovations and maintenance efforts, over time, the building began to reach the end of its useful life. Additionally, due to space limitations, and antiquated systems and equipment, the facility can no longer support today’s instructional models and programmatic expectations for middle school students. As such, over the course of eight (8) years, the Tyngsborough School Committee, Select Board, and Finance Committee unanimously supported the District’s submission of a Statement of Interest (SOI) for a middle school building project to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).

On December 12, 2018, after eight (8) years of Statement of Interest (SOI) submissions by the District, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted to invite Tyngsborough Public Schools to the MSBA’s Eligibility Period which formally began on June 3, 2019. To access the SOI, please click here.


Why did we pursue a Feasibility and Schematic Design Study for Tyngsborough Middle School?

The Tyngsborough Board of Selectmen and School Committee collectively submitted a Statement of Interest (SOI) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) detailing the need for a new or renovated middle school facility. In December 2018, the MSBA formally invited the Tyngsborough Middle School into their Core Project pipeline. In December 2018, the Tyngsborough Middle School project was one (1) of only twelve (12) schools, out of seventy (70) applicants, that were invited into the MSBA’s Core Project pipeline. Through the MSBA’s review process, it is clear that the Tyngsborough Middle School required a feasibility and schematic design study.


What is the role of the 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 administers and funds a program of grants for Massachusetts school projects and strives to work with local communities to create cost-effective, educationally appropriate, sustainable, and energy-efficient schools across Massachusetts. This is achieved and mandated via a multi-step, rigorous, transparent study and approval process encompassed within the Feasibility and Schematic Design Study, which will provide Tyngsborough a reimbursement grant of approximately 58% of the eligible Feasibility Study, design, and construction costs. To learn more about the MSBA, please click here.


What are the important details of the Statement of Interest (SOI)?

A Comprehensive Facilities Assessment was completed in 2016 to examine the physical infrastructure of the buildings in the school district and to determine what actions may be necessary to allow ongoing long-term use of all the school buildings in the District, including the middle school facility. The goal was to understand the existing conditions of the facilities, identify deficiencies, and recommend improvements as part of a long-term capital spending plan. The study included an evaluation of existing conditions, including architectural features, code compliance, building envelope, structural systems, security, food service equipment, and mechanical, plumbing, fire protection, electrical, communications, and data systems. Recommended actions for the Tyngsborough Middle School (TMS) include substantial renovation work to the exterior envelope, including replacement of all windows and the roof, replacement of all interior finishes, substantial renovation of all toilet rooms, installation of an automatic sprinkler system, replacement of the water distribution system and all plumbing fixtures, replacement of all electrical and communications systems, renovation of the kitchen and replacement of all food service equipment, replacement of mechanical equipment (except for the boilers), and renovations to improve security and access control at the main office. A programs and operations review determined that an updated middle school facility would provide our students and staff with a learning facility that is more appropriate for learning than our current antiquated, fifty-year-old building that has reached its life expectancy. As a result of no longer needing to focus on maintaining and overcoming the limitations of the physical structure and the mechanical and electrical systems of an aging building, the District will be better positioned to continue to implement current and future best practices related to instruction and programming. To access the SOI and learn more, please click here.


What is a Feasibility & Schematic Design Study?

A feasibility study is a requirement of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) in order to qualify for state-funded reimbursement for any future building project. It is the first step in determining a long-term solution for schools not currently meeting the state’s educational facility standards. During the Feasibility Study, the District and its team collaborate with the MSBA to generate an initial space summary based on the District’s future enrollment, educational program, document existing conditions, establish design parameters, develop and evaluate preliminary and final alternatives, and recommend the most cost-effective and educationally appropriate solution to the MSBA Board of Directors. In order to ascertain MSBA input and approval throughout the Feasibility Study process, the District is required to secure MSBA approval of each of the following three (3) reports.

Preliminary Design Program: The purpose of the Preliminary Design Program is to define the programmatic, functional, spatial, and environmental requirements of the educational facility necessary to meet the District’s educational program, and perform the review and investigation required to clearly define the existing building deficiencies. Based upon a review of the District’s educational program, the designer will prepare a design recommendation, in written and graphic form, for review, clarification, and agreement regarding the educational goals and programmatic space needs for the subject school. The space needs along with an evaluation of existing conditions and site development requirements will form the basis of the designer’s recommendation for an evaluation of alternatives upon which the most educationally appropriate and cost-effective solution may be recommended. To access the Preliminary Design Program, please click here.

Preferred Schematic Report: The purpose of the Preferred Schematic Report is to summarize the process and conclusions of the Preliminary and Final Evaluation of Alternatives and substantiate and document the District’s selection and recommendation of a preferred solution. The report should address all concerns and questions raised by the MSBA during its review of the Preliminary Design Program and clearly identify any changes incorporated by the District based on further evaluations and considerations. The MSBA Board of Directors must approve the preferred solution for a project before the preferred solution may advance into schematic design. To access the Preferred Schematic Report, please click here.

Schematic Design: Upon completion of the Preferred Schematic Report, the District and its team, in collaboration with the MSBA, develop a robust schematic design of sufficient detail to develop and establish the scope, budget, schedule, and MSBA financial participation for the Proposed Project.


What is an educational visioning program?

An educational visioning program is one of the first requirements to be performed in conjunction with an MSBA funded project. During the months of January and February 2021, in collaboration with David Stephen from New Vista Design, the Tyngsborough Middle School Educational Working Group (EWG) participated in five 2-hour-long educational visioning workshops. The EWG comprised approximately 25 participants, which included TPS administrators, TMS teachers, TPS parents, and TMS students. Each virtual collaborative session was intended to inform the prospective design of either a renovated or new TMS facility through a step-by-step visioning process. The collaborative visioning process aimed at capturing participants’ best thinking about TPS and TMS’s current and future educational goals and priorities. In addition, the visioning sessions provided participants with connecting them to best practices and possibilities in innovative school facility design. As a result of this work, the team developed a clear set of educational and architectural priorities and guiding principles for the design of our building. These principles support our school core values, programmatic vision, and instructional methodologies and will serve as directives for our design team from JCJ Architecture. Additionally, New Vista Design facilitated a TMS faculty workshop and a community workshop, which allowed participants to learn about the educational and architectural priorities that were established by the EWG and to weigh in with their own priorities and thoughts. To learn more about the Educational Visioning that was performed, please click here to access the Educational Visioning Workshop notes.


The Middle School Model

Tyngsborough has been committed to the middle school model since 2001. The middle school model serves to meet the diverse and varied needs of each adolescent through a learning model that best educates and supports the development of middle-level students. Whether it is the comprehensive course offerings, the challenging and integrative curriculum, or the shared commitment to social, emotional, and physical development, the middle school construct has proven to successfully prepare students for high school and beyond. This long-accepted organizational model is predicated on the team concept. A building designed for middle school programming allows for teachers and students to be located within their academic teams and the creation of flexible grade-level neighborhoods that contain synergistic collections of agile classrooms, extended learning areas, and small group meeting rooms. By creating these flexible clusters of learning, students and teachers develop a strong sense of team identity and belonging and benefit from more hands-on, multimodal, and interdisciplinary learning experiences.


Is the educational program appropriate, and how does it compare to the MSBA space allocations?


Room Type

MSBS Guidelines

Schematic Design


Core Academic Spaces

24,820 NSF

30,730 NSF

5,910 NSF

Special Education

5,540 NSF

6,920 NSF

1,380 NSF

Art & Music

3,050 NSF

4,730 NSF

1,680 NSF

Vocational & Technology

2,880 NSF

3,340 NSF

460 NSF

Health & Physical Education

8,400 NSF

10,110 NSF

1,710 NSF

Media Center

3,140 NSF

3,140 NSF

Meets MSBA Guidelines

Dining & Food Service

7,560 NSF

7,560 NSF

Meets MSBA Guidelines


510 NSF

890 NSF

380 NSF

Administration & Guidance

2,980 NSF

2,945 NSF

(35) NSF

Custodial & Maintenance

1,955 NSF

1,955 NSF

Meets MSBA Guidelines



3,215 NSF

3,215 NSF


60,835 NSF

75,535 NSF

14,700 NSF


Core Academic Spaces:  In order to accommodate the grade level team model, which includes two teams of four classrooms and a grade-level world language class, our Core Academic programming requires three additional general classrooms comprised of one world language classroom, two additional STE rooms, and one additional science classroom/lab and prep room per grade. This allows all three grades (6-8) to have two full-sized science labs.

Special Education:  In an effort to provide specific programmatic and/or staffing needs that are necessary to meet the diverse needs of all students, the design includes additional programming spaces beyond the MSBA space template, which is not a unique situation with MSBA funded projects. These spaces include a self-contained special education room, which provides an appropriate space to support a unique population of students, as well as an additional OT/PT room which provides an appropriate space to provide students with these necessary services. An additional conference room is required to hold a variety of meetings (staff, parents, students) necessary to support the diverse needs of all students. The additional psychologist office is the result of current and future staffing.

Art & Music: To support the middle school and high school performing arts curriculum, as well as to provide a community venue, a flexible performance space was allocated in the design. This space was strongly supported and advocated for by participants in our community visioning sessions.

Vocational & Technology:  Two additional Tech Shop spaces will serve as the computer science and media arts classrooms. These courses have been and will continue to be an important component of the middle school curriculum.

Health & Physical Education:  The MSBA space template for middle school gymnasiums allow for 6,000 SF, which allows for 5 ft of clearance beyond the sideline and 8 ft at the end line. To provide bleachers and allow for a safer clearance around the area of play, the decision was made to enlarge the gymnasium, which will provide 6 ft of clearance at the sideline and 10 ft at the end line with a 325-seat bleacher assembly fully extended. The current winter schedule sees full-time use of the middle school basketball court for school teams and town recreational programs which is critical to support community expectations around athletics.

Medical: An additional isolation room and an additional toilet room in the nurse’s office was incorporated. Lessons learned from the pandemic include separating symptomatic students as quickly as possible, which will not be possible without an additional isolation room and toilet.

Other: The current middle school houses the district administration and technology offices. The need to accommodate the workspace and resources for thirteen district professionals is included in the design.


What is the current Tyngsborough Middle School enrollment and future enrollment?

The current Tyngsborough Middle School enrollment is 392 students. Working in conjunction with the MSBA, the District and the MSBA have agreed to a design enrollment of 480 students. To access the enrollment certification, please click here.


What is our reimbursement rate from the MSBA?

The current reimbursement rate during the Feasibility Phase is 54.36%. Upon successful Town approval of the project, the anticipated reimbursement rate will be 58.01%, which is comprised of a base reimbursement rate of 54.36 and projected incentive points of 3.65. Please note that reimbursement is ONLY applied to eligible project costs.


What has the School Building Committee delivered to date?

In conjunction with the MSBA procedures and guidelines, a School Building Committee (SBC) was formed during the summer of 2019. This fifteen-member team comprises elected Town officials, school department officials, Town committee liaisons, and community members. On November 12, 2019, following a series of open SBC meetings, public presentations, and a public forum, the Tyngsborough community voted at a Special Town Meeting to appropriate funds to support a Feasibility & Schematic Design Study process in conjunction with the MSBA.


During the following year, the SBC worked on a variety of MSBA tasks and processes, including selecting LeftField to serve as the Owner’s Project Manager on June 3, 2020, and JCJ Architecture to serve as the project designer on November 12, 2020. Since that time, these organizations have worked with the SBC to complete the MSBA Feasibility Study and Schematic Design Process. This included (1) developing and submitting an Educational Program that was the result of educational visioning sessions led by a consultant from New Vista Design, (2) the development and review of multiple construction solutions with evaluation criteria and probable cost associations, which included code-only upgrade, renovation/addition, new construction options, and an option to construct a new school at the elementary school site, (3) the analysis that the most cost-effective, educationally beneficial, and sustainable long-term solution is to build a new school on the existing softball field. This preferred and chosen solution will entail the early demolition of the existing gymnasium, construction of the new school, demolition of the existing Tyngsborough Middle School, and site development of a new softball field. To see a current timeline on the project, please click here.


What is the current status of the Project?

The schematic design was completed in December 2021, estimates will be performed in January 2022, and the total project budget will be established in February 2022. In March 2022, the schematic design will be submitted to the MSBA for final approval, which will occur in late April. The Project will then come before the Town at Town Meeting on May 3, 2022, and upon successful passage at Town Meeting, the Project will come before the Community as a debt exclusion ballot vote on May 17, 2022.


What is the timing of Construction?

Upon successful Town approvals, construction will commence in the spring of 2023 with an anticipated school facility completion and student move-in for the fall start in 2025. Demolition, site improvements, and the construction of the new softball field are anticipated to be complete by the spring of 2026.


Why do we need a new middle school?

Built-in 1968, as the original Jr. Sr. High School, TMS has also served as an elementary school (1992) and now as the Tyngsborough Middle School (2002). Despite renovations and extensive maintenance efforts, over time, the building has reached the end of its useful life. Due to space limitations, and antiquated systems and equipment, the facility can no longer support today’s instructional models and programmatic expectations for middle school students.


Why new construction vs. renovation?

Throughout 2021, the School Building Committee performed an extensive, in-depth feasibility study in conjunction with the MSBA; the study concluded that the most cost-effective, educationally beneficial, and sustainable long-term solution is to build a new school. This study included the development and review of multiple construction solutions with evaluation criteria and probable cost associations such as a code-only upgrade, a renovation/addition, new construction options, and an option to construct a new school at the elementary school site. For more information related to this FAQ, please click here.


How much will the project cost & what is the anticipated grant from the MSBA?

At this time, as the construction estimates are being performed, the total project cost cannot be ascertained. However, based on previous estimates performed during the feasibility phase, the anticipated project budget range will be $82 to $85 million. Partnering with the MSBA, the anticipated grant from the MSBA will range from $29 to $30 million, which will result in a District share of $53 to $55 million.*


* These valves are subject to change; however, they will be finalized in late February of 2022.


What will it take to pass this project?

To be successful, the community will need a 2/3 majority vote at the annual town meeting on May 3, 2022, and a majority vote on a ballot question on May 17, 2022.


What happens if the project doesn’t pass?

It is important to understand that if a community chooses not to partner with the MSBA, the full cost of any addition/renovation is the sole responsibility of the Town. Unlike the Tyngsborough Elementary School, which took three attempted votes to eventually pass, the MSBA process allows for only ONE opportunity before a community would need to resubmit a statement of interest and start the entire process over which is currently trending between eight and ten years.

For more information related to this FAQ, please click here.

To access the MSBA’s policy on failed votes, please click here.