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Grand opening Saturday for new Easthampton High School to celebrate a school ‘with the future in mind’

The new Easthampton High School as seen through a window at the old building earlier this year.


The new Easthampton High School as seen through a window at the old building earlier this year. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

EASTHAMPTON — With demolition of the city’s 53-year-old high school complete, school leaders are hosting a grand opening Saturday for the new $39.2 million high school building on Williston Avenue.

A groundbreaking ceremony marked the opening of the new high school last spring, but organizers say this weekend’s event offers the community a chance to celebrate the final phase of the project and thank those involved.

“It’s wonderful to see this come to a conclusion,” Mayor Michael A. Tautznik said this week. “This is a building that will fit the educational needs of children for years. It’s a building with the future in mind.”

At Saturday’s grand opening, which starts at 11 a.m. in the high school quadrangle, a two-foot stainless steel time capsule containing items related to the building project will be sealed in an outer wall of the new high school. The capsule will be opened at a time to be determined by future school leaders.

Building Committee Chairman Michael Buehrle said the event will also include musical performances by the EHS band, speeches by state and local officials, a ribbon cutting by former high school class presidents and a tour for local residents until 1 p.m.

“And we’ll have cake,” Buehrle said, provided by Mike Superson of Big E’s Supermarket.

The new 110,000-square foot high school, which opened for classes in April, is the first school constructed in Easthampton in more than three decades. Built by Fontaine Bros. of Springfield — which also built the city’s Public Safety Complex — the new school houses larger classrooms with up-to-date technology, a modern fabrications lab, a 376-seat auditorium and a gym that can hold 1,000 spectators.

The building is the result of 15 years of planning by school and community leaders and an $18 million debt-exclusion override, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2010 to pay for the city’s portion of the project. The state is paying 64 percent of the costs of the new high school, or about $25.73 million.

At a building committee meeting Monday, members listened to reports from project managers about the final phase of the high school project, including landscaping, pavement markings and some needed changes to the air conditioning and drainage systems.

Bottom line: the project remains on time and under budget, managers reported.

The committee also heard complaints from three abutting property owners about noise from a ventilator in the new building, bright lights from the school’s Cafe Commons area and traffic on the service road behind the high school.

Buehrle said the noise and lighting issues will be addressed within the next three weeks. Principal Vito Perrone agreed to check with police about enforcing parking and traffic rules around the high school.

As they reviewed items destined for the time capsule — including the 2013 EHS commencement program, a school yearbook and newspaper articles about the new building — committee members asked about one artifact they did not see on the display table: a time capsule said to have been sealed in the old high school building.

“We heard legends about that but we never identified a location,” said Tautznik, who is a member of the EHS class of 1971. “Our contractor was diligent — he actively looked for a capsule. But he didn’t find it.”

School Superintendent Nancy Follansbee said that won’t happen with the capsule to be installed at Saturday’s event.

“We are all in agreement,” Follansbee said in an email following the meeting. “We will let the next generation determine a date for opening the time capsule. And we will make sure everyone will know where to find it.”

Legacy Comments9

Wow, you must be really desperate to troll people to come up with this one. If you really WERE a blue collar Hamp kid, didn't you benefit from public education? Oh, I forgot, you are from the "dumb and proud of it" party. The construction of a school, or anything that produces educated citizens, an existential threat to you and your like-minded bagger zombies. Or maybe you just assume that you know better than the Easthampton voters. "The building is the result of 15 years of planning by school and community leaders and an $18 million debt-exclusion override, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2010 to pay for the city’s portion of the project." Smaller property tax overrides in Easthampton failed both before and after, but this debt exclusion override, which accounted for a much larger cash total, passed 3 to 1. Hopefully, despite your ardent desires to the contrary, the people of Easthampton will get their public money's worth on something they supported overwhelmingly.

And you know what, I'll even step back what I said about all republicans being the party of dumbness. I had a very respectful, enjoyable and feisty conversation over lunch today with a very smart and (almost) sensible fiscal conservative. I think that most republicans, save for what McCain himself called the "whacko birds," would have more common sense than to pick something like this school as a worthwhile battle. Your post comes entirely from your own desperate desire to offend, no matter what sacrifice of common sense.

I'm glad you are belatedly starting to see things our way. I too was once a liberal like you but then I woke up and realized so much of the utopian vision is doomed to failure. Now I believe in the intrinsic value of the individual as opposed to the collectivism of the progressive social justice left (of course controlled by a class of elite technocrats, beaurocrats and cultural gatekeepers). We want to live as individuals and not as part of a collective colony of worker bees. That is our nature. And you need to see the difference between a building and what goes on inside it. We don't need a palace to educate young people. Didn't Socrates teach under a Plane tree? Heres a link to the election results in Germany this Sunday. Will Angie need to form a grand coalition with the socialist party? Will the euro skeptics do her in? Enquiring minds want to know. Go Angie Go! I was vacationing in Germany during the last election cycle and there were billboard pictures of her everywhere. They just love her over there. And this year the billboards are just photos of her open and caring hands. Kind of strange. Sort of like the Allstate slogan - You're in good hands with Angie. Undoubtably some American politcal consulting firm advised her party on that one. http://stream.wsj.com/story/german-elections-2013/SS-2-294368/

Save a lobotomy, or some trauma that creates a need to whine constantly, I doubt I will ever see things YOUR way. Nor do I see them the fiscal conservative way either. In fact, I think I convinced my friend at lunch yesterday of a few things. After my conversations with you and others, it was pleasant to be reminded that not all conservatives have drunk the koolaid of canned extremism and that a select few have enough live braincells to be susceptible to argument. Yes, Merkel is popular, but as I explained before, she is well to the "left" of most U.S. democrats as far as state health care and all those things that you hate, so referring to her at all is just another token of your ignorance. Imagine Merkel's reaction at the havoc Ted Cruise and the baggers are causing their own party in congress right now! But, then again, ignorance for someone with your desperate need for negative attention isn't really an issue. Go ahead, bleat out your "last word" for this thread. It'll make you feel great about yourself. I just finished my lunch, and I have to get back to work.

BTW, your " We don't need a palace to educate young people." is just more proof why rational argument has nothing to do with anything that comes out of your keyboard. So please, PLEASE don't insult anyone's intelligence by pretending that you are being oppressed in any way and not absolute fair game for the derision that so often gets thrown your way.

Ah yes - the teacher union's new palace. Marvelous to behold! In such a sumptuous setting undoubtably a need grows and the calls will start - "greater wages" the shout will be, from the earthly mortals working amidst the splendor.


Census: State and Local Income, Sales, Motor Fuel, Motor Vehicle, and Alcoholic Beverage Taxes Hit All-Time Highs in 2nd Quarter - Overall state and local tax revenues also hit a second-quarter record of $382.238 billion in 2013—with overall state tax revenues during the quarter exceeding those of any previous second quarter since 1962.

Amazing. Someone writes a single word response to your troll-call, and you respond with a simple cut and paste plagiarism of 2 sentences from CNSNews. Someone writes a 6 letter word and a question mark, and you respond with four thrifty key strokes. So, even when someone only chooses to respond to you with a single word, you still manage, somehow, to be even less articulate. BRAVO! I mean, I guess you could consider two repetitions of ctrl-c and ctrl-v to be eight keystrokes, but I don't want to diminish the speed records of your race to the intellectual bottom.

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