LLA Letter to Town Meeting, March 28, 2023

On behalf of the Lexington Lyceum Advocates (LLA), we would like to address questions about Article 10a, Stone Building Design and Repairs.

What the Article 10a Money is for

The $400,000 request from Community Preservation Act funds is for concept design, design documents, construction documents, and emergency repairs. Part of this money will be put toward stabilizing the building so it does not deteriorate further. Approving this Article does not commit the Town to spending any other money on the Stone Building, but it will allow the Town to develop a sound plan for moving forward. 

Uses for the Building

The Stone Building Feasibility Reuse Committee (SBFRC) recommended that the building be returned to its original use as a Lyceum — reimagined for the 21st-century. For two years during the pandemic, the committee worked with the community to develop a plan for the Stone Building that fits Lexington’s needs and goals. 

The SBFRC recommended restoring the building to its original layout with three major program areas: 

  • Lyceum Hall (on the 2nd floor) for performances, speaker series, and discussions of contemporary issues
  • History learning center offering tourist programs, field trips for school children, and professional development for teachers
  • Meeting and gathering space for drop-in visits and small groups 

Building Layout

The SBFRC recommended vision can be achieved by adding modern amenities for accessibility to the original historic building layout. A concept design, that the Town has already paid for, was included in the 2009 Stone Building Historic Structure Report

The Article 10a design work builds on this investment by refining and updating the 2009 design to ensure accessibility, reflect changes in building codes, and act on the SBFRC’s recommendations. It prepares the Town to move forward by creating design documents that will enable more accurate cost estimates for future capital planning. 

The design and repair work proposed in Article 10a is the logical next step toward getting the Stone Building back into use. Any tenant would need this design work completed. 

Who will be the Tenant?

The Lexington Lyceum Advocates (LLA) has recently incorporated and is applying for nonprofit status with the specific goal of developing programming for and managing the operation of the Stone Building in line with the recommendations from the 2022 SBFRC report. We intend to answer the RFP for a tenant for the Stone Building as soon as the Town releases it.  

We are putting together a business plan to deliver this programming in line with the Town’s new vision for the building’s use as well as carrying costs for operating the building. The business plan will include state and federal grants for history and civic education and interpretation as well as support from private donors and program fees. 

The LLA board includes members of the SBFRC as well as others who have been active in the process of developing a vision for the Stone Building. We are drawing on our collective backgrounds in nonprofit management, organization building, fundraising, grant writing, communications, event planning, historical research & interpretation, and teaching to realize this vision. Other active members of LLA have expertise in education, design, architectural history and historic preservation. 

The LLA team has already begun to offer programming in support of its mission by organizing and hosting “Community Conversations” about race and education, civic participation, and the importance of local news in partnership with the Lexington Observer, the First Parish Racial Justice Team, and the Follen Church Social Justice Action Team. We have upcoming events planned with LexSeeHer and Friends of the Lexington Bikeway. Also, you may have met some of us at the Stone Building on the TMM bus tour.

Please reach out to any board member listed below with questions. We encourage you to visit our website at LexLyceum.org to find out more about our organization, programming, and volunteering.


Lexington Lyceum Advocates

Lexington Lyceum Advocates Board

Mark Manasas, President  – Lexington Lyceum Advocates, PCT 2 Town Meeting Member


Mark Manasas was an early member of numerous medical device startups, responsible for recruiting and leading engineering teams and designing novel medical devices and surgical procedures. He was the first VP of Engineering at Fractyl Health (Hartwell Ave medical device Co.) He is a founding member, and current board member, of Lexington Community Farm, a founding board member of LexZeroWaste Collaborative, Chaired the Vision for Lexington (VfL) Committee 2022 Town Wide Survey, and Chaired the Enhancing Communication in Lexington report for VfL. 

Janel Showalter, Vice President – Lexington Lyceum Advocates


Janel Showalter is a federal communications professional and web content specialist and a former writer-editor for the National Archives and Records Administration. She became involved in efforts to restore and reimagine the Stone Building through Lexington’s Dismantling Racism in Our Town program.

Meg Muckenhoupt, Treasurer – Lexington Lyceum Advocates, PCT 1 Town Meeting Member


Meg Muckenhoupt is a marketing communications professional and a writer focusing on New England history and land use. She was a founding member of Lexington Community Farm, and is the former Executive Director of the Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design and a former communications manager for OpenBiome. She served as a liaison from the Appropriation Committee to the Stone Building Feasibility & Reuse Committee. 

Kathleen Dalton, Director – Lexington Lyceum Advocates


Kathleen Dalton is a public historian and presidential biographer who taught at Boston University and Phillips Academy Andover, and is currently a Research Associate at the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University. She was formerly a consultant to the National Park Service and the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, and the Director of the Brace Center for Gender Studies.

Carolyn Goldstein, Director – Lexington Lyceum Advocates, PCT 2 Town Meeting Member

carolyn@lexlyceum.orgAn historian of American technology and consumer culture, she coordinates the statewide Mass. Memories Road Show program and teaches public history at UMass Boston. She is a former curator at the National Building Museum and Lowell National Historical Park as well as a former board member of Lexington Community Farm. She served on the Stone Building Feasibility & Reuse Committee.