Plans for a new Squantum Elementary School today officially qualified for the state’s school building program following a critical vote by the board that oversees school construction across Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously at its regular meeting on Wednesday to accept the City’s request, proposed by Mayor Thomas Koch and supported by both the City Council and School Committee, to enroll in the program that provides millions of dollars in state reimbursement for new school construction and major renovation projects.
The Squantum School is Quincy’s fourth major school project to qualify for the program, including most recently the new South-West Middle School. That project followed the new Quincy High School and Central Middle School projects. In addition, the City has partnered with MSBA on a series of door and window projects at schools citywide. State reimbursements for those projects have ranged from 60 to 80 percent, saving local taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
“This project is vital to the future of Squantum and our City. We have an incredibly well-proven track record in delivering transformational school projects together with the MSBA, and I think that gives the Board of Directors a good deal of confidence in welcoming us once again into the program,” said Mayor Koch. “I’m grateful for the ongoing partnership with Treasurer Goldberg, all of our colleagues at the MSBA, and the tremendous efforts by Superintendent Mulvey and his team, the state delegation, our City Councilors and the School Committee for getting us to this point. We have plenty of work ahead, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Added Ward 6 City Councilor William Harris:
“This school is the cornerstone of the Squantum community, and I am thrilled we are now on our way to providing the state-of-the-art educational facility that our young people very much deserve. I can think of few higher priorities for myself as Ward Councilor than seeing this project through, and I look forward to working directly with so many of our neighbors in Squantum as this process moves forward.”
In its proposal, the City and the Quincy Public Schools team noted that while the school has served the community remarkably well since it opened in 1919 but a building of that age is extremely limited in providing a 21st Century learning environment. Officials cited the need for technology-driven curriculum, science laboratories, computer labs, and a library media center as components to be included in any new building.
“I’m looking forward to working with the MSBA on the Eligibility Phase of the Squantum Elementary School project,” said Superintendent Kevin Mulvey. “Thanks to the support of Quincy’s state legislative delegation, Mayor Koch, the City Council, and School Committee, we have an opportunity to build a state-of-the art facility to benefit all of the students who attend the school, both from the neighborhood and the citywide Special Education program students. A new building will enhance the outstanding educational opportunities provided by the dedicated staff and administrators at Squantum Elementary School and will also be an important resource for the local community.”
The project now enters an elaborate process guided by the MSBA, which starts with meeting eligibility requirements showing the City can finance and manage a project of this magnitude. Officials expressed a high degree of confidence on moving through that phase based on the City’s history of successful school projects. From there, the project moves onto a feasibility study that determines the full scope of needs before a final project agreement, reimbursement rate, and schedule is voted on the MSBA Board.
Said State Senator John Keenan:
"I wish to thank the School Building Authority, its Board and team, and Treasurer Goldberg for advancing the Squantum School project through the process, and congratulate my colleagues in government - Representative Ayers, Mayor Koch, the City Council, Superintendent Mulvey and his team, and the School Committee - for their hard work in laying the groundwork for what will be a modern school in another of Quincy’s great neighborhoods. Generations of students will benefit, proving that government works best when it works together.”
Added State Representative Bruce Ayers
“The city designated rebuilding the Squantum School as a priority a few years ago, and this morning our advocacy paid off,” said State Representative Bruce Ayers. “I was proud to testify in support of the city's proposal at the MSBA's board meeting. With this partnership, we can finally begin to replace a facility that is over 100 years old and hasn’t been renovated in decades. A new building will help the great educators at Squantum School bring their programs into the 21st century of education. This project will allow for technology integration, greater investment in the arts, and more emphasis on STEM learning, all thanks to a facility equipped with the tools necessary for students to reach their maximum potential. The residents of Squantum take a lot of pride in their community, and now they are one big step closer to having an elementary school facility they can be proud of as well.”