What a point of pride this week's opening of a brand new, $115 million dollar public school should be for our town. Thanks to a lot of hard work, and after only five years, more than 1,000 students will walk through the doors of a new structure built for learning in the new millennium. Wellesley's accomplishment is no small feat. A new school, arriving within budget and completed in nearly six months less time than originally expected!
Congratulations to a town that avoided the mistakes that led to the most expensive public school in Massachusetts history in the city of Newton. While Newton's giant structure has become a symbol for how not to build a public school, Wellesley's new high school may become a model for how to do it: in time and by working to be green.
Our new point of pride will lend itself well to new teaching techniques and add new dimension to environmental studies. Of course, Wellesley is not the first community to green up and build a cost effective school. Last year, Norwood High School opened its doors, using a green state approved design and costs a lot less than Newton’s new school.
Plans to honor the great memories old school continue to be refined. The building will be formally dedicated in May and will be a focus during "Wellesley's Wonderful Weekend."
Highlights included a Friday night concert, and tours and building dedication on May 19. Back in November, crowds symbolically "turned out the lights" at the high school in a tribute to the soon-to-be-torn down building.
This May the town will hold more celebrations, dedicating the new school and congratulating all on a job well done. Kudos go to so many, including Selectwoman Katherine Babson, who will be honored for her tireless efforts, and credited with spearheading so much of the project. The high school's new auditorium will bear Babson's name.
Things will be rolling along at a fast clip as the doors of the high school swing open. Teachers spent the extended vacation readying classrooms that are filled with natural light. The first drama department production will be staged next week.
High School Athletic Director John Brown says winter sports are winding down, so the timing of the move couldn't be better. Brown tells us his staff has done a "tremendous" job moving a large amount of supplies, sports uniforms, and equipment into the new gym spaces. He boasts that his staff has shown what he likes to call "Raider Pride." He says coaches and staff deserve credit for helping to make the move a smooth one, especially his assistant Maryann MacDonald.
Brown says MacDonald, herself a graduate of the high school, took it upon herself to move and install half a dozen new trophy cases that add pizazz to the new surroundings. Also on Wednesday night, Wellesley's Raiders girls' basketball team will host Madison Park High for the first game in the new gym.
Parents and students and staff will use a temporary side entrance to the new school on Rice Street until the old building is demolished. That step won't be completed until later this year. Demolition is something our neighbors in Newton know a thing or two about.
Here is hoping it is a phase that goes just as smoothly as this construction phase has gone. And in just a few years, when enrollment projections predict that more than 1,500 students will be using the new high school, the town can look back with pride on a job extremely well done.