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Easthampton’s new high school building on track for 2013 move-in

The Easthampton High School Building Committee plans to review progress on the city’s new high school and bids that have come in for furniture, fixtures and internal electrical wiring at a Nov. 26 meeting.

The session will be held at 6:30 p.m. at 50 Payson Ave.

Committee Chairman Michael Buehrle said construction of the $39.2 million building remains on schedule. Students are expected to be able to move in over spring break of 2013.

“Almost all the windows are finished and all the wiring, plumbing and conduits are in to the first floor,” Buerhle said.

The new three-story building on Williston Avenue will feature larger classrooms wired for new technology and a new gym that can seat up to 750 for sports events and graduations.

The Class of 2012 was the last to graduate from the city’s existing 51-year old high school. That building will be torn down once the new high school is completed.

Buehrle said the new high school project has earned points for energy efficiency from the state School Building Authority, which is covering 64 percent of the total costs. The city’s share of funding for the building comes from an $18 million debt-exclusion override voters approved in 2010.

Among the new high school’s eco-friendly features are energy efficient lighting and photovoltaic panels on the roof.

Buehrle said in recent few weeks, power has been hooked up to the building and contractors have begun installing outside fence-line barriers.

Fontaine Bros. of Springfield, which built the city’s public safety complex on Payson Avenue more than a decade ago, is the general contractor for the project.

Enrichment grants

Easthampton Learning Foundation grants for enrichment programs in the city schools totalled $15,000 in 2012, the school department reports.

The foundation reviews grant submissions from school staff for programs that enhance student learning in science, English, math, technology, social sciences or the arts.

Specific awards went to the Easthampton Learning Foundation Band, $2,820; Easthampton High School Arts Festival, $1,414; EHS Model United Nations club, $1,786; White Brook Middle School garden, $3,900;

Center/Pepin School garden, $2,500; Poetry in Motion program at Maple School, $950; Center/Pepin Leadership Club, $550, and the Great Outdoors of Easthampton program at Maple School, $1,080.

Information about grant awards and ways to donate to the foundation is available online at www.elfhelps.org.

Vocational school session

An information night for eighth-graders interested in vocational high school options will be held Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. in the White Brook Middle School auditorium. The session will provide information about programs and the application process for Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton and Lower Pioneer Valley Career and Technical Education Center in Springfield. For details, call the middle school’s main office at 529-1530.

Book fair

White Brook Middle School is hosting a book fair through Dec. 11 where parents can shop for holiday gifts and contribute books to their children’s classrooms. This year, shoppers can visit the fair online at www.scholastic.com/fair. Enter Zip Code 01027 and scroll down to find White Brook’s link. Book fair dates for middle school students are Nov. 27 to 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Math for parents

Confused about new math? Maple Street School is organizing a series of workshops to help parents familiarize themselves with the math curriculum in use elementary school classrooms. The first session, held last month and aimed at parents of third- and fourth-graders, drew 20 people. Dates for another workshop, led by district elementary math specialist Joan Schaffer and geared towards parents of younger children, will be announced soon. For details, call the school’s main office, 529-1550.

Barbara Solow can be reached at BSolow@gazettenet.com.

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