SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Sherwood Middle School students braved the cold to march the short distance from their old building to their brand-new school Wednesday morning.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Superintendent Joseph Sawyer said as he prepared to greet the students. “This has been many years in the works.”
Sawyer expressed his thanks to the community for its support of the new school, which he said will house students “for many decades to come.”
“I think the new school’s really cool, and I’m excited to be in my new classroom and to be doing class activities,” said student Lanna Wang.
On Tuesday, Principal Jane Lizotte said the construction of and transition to the new school occurred smoothly because everyone involved “placed a lot of trust in one another.”
“The number one goal was to build a building to serve the children of this community,” she said. “That has happened.”
The new building includes 72 learning spaces consisting of 36 classrooms, labs and other spaces. Lizotte said the building was designed to “give a small-community feel in a larger school setting.” To do that, school is divided into “neighborhoods” of classrooms, special subject rooms and large common areas.
Student safety was also a priority. The exterior doors and main entrance are fully visible from the front desk. Other exterior doors can be opened with a key fob only, and interior doors are designed to be locked-down in case of a threat. Cameras monitor hallways, the gym, and cafeteria.
Lizotte said she was grateful for the support of Shrewsbury residents, parents, teachers and staff, local government and contractor Gilbane Construction.
“All these groups of people came together. The building is $6.5 million under budget and nine months ahead of schedule,” she said. “I couldn't be more grateful.”
Lizotte said she has good memories of the old Sherwood School building, which will be demolished this summer. “It's the memories, not the building itself,” that are important, she said. “There's no turning back now, and that's OK with me.”