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New Dunphy School breaks ground in Williamsburg

  • A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS

    A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Dave Mathers, left, who is the chairman of the board of selectmen and the school building committee, Fred Venne, center, the former principal of the Anne T. Dunphy School, and Craig Jurgensen, the school superintendent, listen to a speech from Jeff Ciuffreda, a former selectman, during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS

    Dave Mathers, left, who is the chairman of the board of selectmen and the school building committee, Fred Venne, center, the former principal of the Anne T. Dunphy School, and Craig Jurgensen, the school superintendent, listen to a speech from Jeff Ciuffreda, a former selectman, during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rep. Stephen Kulik speaks Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Rep. Stephen Kulik speaks Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School in Williamsburg.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ada Griffin, 7, left, and Ella MacLachlan, 6, eye a pile of sand before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Ada Griffin, 7, left, and Ella MacLachlan, 6, eye a pile of sand before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of children play with their shovels and hardhats before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS

    A group of children play with their shovels and hardhats before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of children play with their shovels before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    A group of children play with their shovels before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Dave Mathers, left, who is the chairman of the board of selectmen and the school building committee, Fred Venne, center, the former principal of the Anne T. Dunphy School, and Craig Jurgensen, the school superintendent, listen to a speech from Jeff Ciuffreda, a former selectman, during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Rep. Stephen Kulik speaks Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Ada Griffin, 7, left, and Ella MacLachlan, 6, eye a pile of sand before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • A group of children play with their shovels and hardhats before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.JERREY ROBERTS
  • A group of children play with their shovels before the groundbreaking for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • A group of children dig into a pile of sand during a groundbreaking ceremony for additions and renovations to the Anne T. Dunphy School Wednesday in Williamsburg.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

Under increasingly threatening skies, officials addressed the large crowd of students, parents, teachers and community members on the lawn of the Dunphy School.

“This day has been a long time coming,” Superintendent Craig Jurgensen said. “For two years, the school building committee met every two weeks and worked very hard to get this project to where it is today and they deserve a lot of credit.”

As the wind began to pick up, Massachusetts School Building Authority Executive Director Jack McCarthy praised the community for coming together to support the project.

“Not too many people like to pay higher tax rates, but this town really believed that their children deserved a first-class education,” McCarthy said. “And I have to say that your legislative officials have been great advocates for you and for the school.”

The mission of the MSBA is to create efficient and financially sustainable programs to fund school facility capital improvement projects.

McCarthy told the appreciative audience the state would pay 62 percent, or roughly $7.5 million, of the $12 million project cost.

“It is an honor to be here today, and I am really looking forward to coming back for the ribbon cutting,” he said.

Approximately 22,000 square feet of the school will be renovated, and 16,000 square feet will be added to the 60-year-old building. The newly expanded school is designed to accommodate 270 students and will house all of Williamsburg’s 160 pre-kindergarten-through-sixth-grade students. According to school officials, renovations are expected to be completed in June 2014.

During construction, all Williamsburg elementary school children are attending the Helen E. James School, which once served only pre-kindergarten to second grade.

State Rep. Stephen D. Kulik, D-Worthington, said he was extremely impressed with how much work people did to get such deep public support for the project, and by how smoothly the process went. He also noted that the school building committee was able to convince the MSBA that the school did not need a library of its own, with Meekins library so close by.

“The town worked closely with the state and managed to get a waiver exempting them from having to include a library in the school. That saved the town a lot of money,” Kulik said. “This new facility will be safe, technologically forward and will provide kids with a great educational opportunity.”

As speakers were wrapping up the program, the rain began to come down.

This, however, did not dampen the spirits of youngsters as they plunged their shovels into the dirt along with school officials, architects, and selectmen.

“It is very exciting to have the kids be a part of all this,” Williamsburg School Principal Stacey Jenkins said. “I am impressed with how many families came today. It really shows how dedicated the community is to the project.”

Having played a significant role in the early planning stages of the project, former selectman Jeffery Ciuffreda and former Williamsburg School Principal Fred Venne also spoke at the ceremony.

“This is very heartwarming to me. It’s great — it feels like coming home and I couldn’t be happier to see this moving forward,” Venne said. “This is what it is all about.”

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