WAKEFIELD — The selection of a designer for a future Wakefield Memorial High School building project is getting closer.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority’s Designer Review Panel is expected to meet on Aug. 3 to review the 10 firms that have expressed an interest in the WMHS project. The Designer Review Panel is made up of 13 members appointed by the MSBA along with three representatives from Wakefield. The Wakefield representatives will be School Superintendent Doug Lyons, School Committee member Ami Wall and Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio.

The MSBA Designer Selection Panel has jurisdiction over the procurement of designers in connection with cities and towns seeking funding from the MSBA for public school construction projects whose estimated construction cost is anticipated to be $5,000,000 or greater.

After being rejected three years in a row, the town learned in December of 2019 that Wakefield Memorial High School had been accepted into the MSBA program. The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public school facilities. The MSBA typically funds about 50 percent of eligible construction costs.

The 13 MSBA appointed members of the Designer Selection Committee are recruited from recommended candidates of the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC) and the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts (the AGC) as well as MSBA staff, independent design and construction professionals.

Shane Nolan of LeftField, the Owner’s Project Manager for the high school project, reviewed the process at last week’s meeting of the Permanent Building Committee. At the Aug. 3 meeting, Nolan said, the panel will review the 10 firms based on experience, current workload and other criteria. Members will then each rank their top three choices. 

The top three or four firms in the ranking will be invited back for interviews with the selection panel on Aug. 17. Following that process, panel members will again be asked to rank the finalists. The firm with the highest score will be asked to submit a proposal.

The 10 design firms are: Arrow Street/Moody Nolan; Dinisco Design; Drummey Rosane Anderson; Feingold Alexander/Dore + Whitter; JCJ Architecture; Mount Vernon Group Architects; Saam Architecture/DLR Group; Tappe; SMMA: and William Rawn Associates. Nolan noted that several of the 10 are joint ventures of two firms.

At last week’s PBC meeting, there was some discussion of the various firms that had submitted their names for consideration, but Nolan cautioned against ranking firms prematurely. Several members said they would be favorably inclined toward several of the firms with whom the town has worked on other projects. 

Nolan said that he would prefer a firm with strong experience in constructing high schools. 

School Superintendent Doug Lyons said that he would look favorably on four of the design firms, which he listed in no particular order: Arrow Street/Moody Nolan; Dore + Whittier; SMMA and Tappe.


Nolan also provided an update on the Public Safety Building project. He said that the design development process had wrapped up and had gone to the cost estimators. The estimates are due back on July 30 and he will have the information available for the committee’s Aug. 12 meeting.

Nolan also reviewed the project schedule, which calls for construction to begin in March of 2022 and take 12 months. 

He also discussed the bid process for subcontractors.


The Permanent Building Committee approved payment of several invoices last week for services provided between June 1 and June 30.

A sum of $12,000 was paid to LeftField for OPM services for the high school.

Another $10,000 went to LeftField for OPM services for the Public Safety Building.

Also paid was $28,970 to HKT Architects for design services for the Public Safety Building.

A sum of $4,000 was paid to Bond Building for construction services.