Story of a Building Seminar - November 2017

Story of a Building Seminar, November 2017 (West Bridgewater, MA)

Building Your School from the Inside Out:
Best Practices in School Furniture Planning, Selection and Procurement

Presented by:

  • The Office of the Inspector General MCPPO Program
  • The Massachusetts School Building Authority
  • The West Bridgewater Superintendent and Staff at the Middle Senior High School

On November 14th, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General’s Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO) program continued the tradition of collaboration, providing relevant training for approximately eighty school district personnel and their building partners at the Story of a Building seminar hosted at West Bridgewater’s new Middle High School. The agenda for the day-long training opportunity (attached) focused on de-mystifying the world of outfitting your new school with quality furniture.

This year, the Story of Building panel discussions focused on planning, selecting and procuring school furniture. Several school districts, West Bridgewater, Natick and Harvard, discussed their strategies for learning about furniture and ultimately determining which furniture products best realized the vision they had for contemporary teaching and learning in their new school. The morning panels that followed included tips from interior design professionals, product vendors and manufacturers.

The luncheon Keynote speaker, Laura Twohig, presented research findings on the changing learning behaviors and expectations of students and how well designed learning spaces can positively influence student engagement.

Collaborative Purchasing:

The concept of collaboration amongst school districts to purchase furniture and potentially save money was highlighted at the daylong conference. The MSBA is seeking school districts that are interested to explore the concept of collaboration on certain school furniture purchases.

If interested in learning more about collaborative purchasing, please contact Barbara Hansberry at 617-720-4466.

Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment Product and Cost Information:

MSBA Deputy CEO/Executive Director, Jack McCarthy, described the Progress Payment aka Pro Pay process, MSBA's monthly reimbursement process of eligible costs for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E). Barbara Hansberry, Director of Strategic Planning at the MSBA announced the MSBA’s new pilot program to assist school districts and their building partners by collecting and posting FF&E product and cost data on the MSBA website.

The spreadsheet template, while still subject to minor tweaking, could be considered for adoption by architects and interior design consultants to facilitate more efficient reporting of cost and product information to the website.

The product and cost data the MSBA will collect from new school building projects has been generated by school districts and their consultants. This data can be used as a planning tool to estimate FF&E budgets as well as to learn popular manufacturers of school furniture.

To learn more and view the types of information the MSBA is collecting, please visit:

State Ethics Commission:

David Giannotti from the State Ethics Commission presented information on the MA Conflict of Interest Law and its applicability to certain members of the school building project team - school personnel, opm and designer personnel and sub consultants, such as interior design professionals. To learn more, please see the State Ethics Commission Presentation.