State, Local Officials Break Ground On New Springfield School To Replace Building Damaged By Tornado
Massachusetts and Springfield officials broke ground today (Wednesday) on a new middle school, two years after a tornado heavily damaged the original building.. The Elias Brookings Magnet Middle School, located in the city’s Six Corners neighborhood, took a direct hit from the June, 2011 tornado that tore though the region, rendering it unusable. Since then, students have been housed in portable classrooms behind the original 88 year-old building. Now a new, larger school is going to be built across the street on about 3 acres of land donated by Springfield College. Jack McCarthy, Executive Director of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, says the nearly $30 million project has been on the fast track since the legislature allowed for the state to fully reimburse the costs of a building a new school.
“Our goal has been to return to the city of Springfield a working school with as little effect on the taxpayers as we possibly could.”
Principal Terry Powe says the new school will feature modern amenities and technologies that were lacking in the old building, but which are necessary for preparing today’s students.
“We're going to into a state-of-the-art facility with cafetorium, gymnasium, classrooms that are to code. We're going to have air-conditioning, art room, music room, everything that students need to get a great education, so I'm very excited.”
Construction on the new Brookings school is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed in 2015. The City is now looking for proposals to re-develop the original building, possibly into residential units.