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New $95M Deberry-Homer School Being Built in Springfield, Mass.

Thu September 30, 2021 - Northeast Edition
CEG


The new school will merge students from two of the city's oldest school buildings. The Homer Street school opened in 1898 and the DeBerry school was built in 1951.
The new school will merge students from two of the city's oldest school buildings. The Homer Street school opened in 1898 and the DeBerry school was built in 1951.

A pair of aging elementary schools in Springfield, Mass., are being consolidated and replaced by a $95 million facility.

The new school will merge students from two of the city's oldest school buildings. The Homer Street school opened in 1898 and the DeBerry school was built in 1951.

MassLive reported that after being in the works since 2019, the project officially got under way Sept. 28 with a groundbreaking at the current Deberry property on Union Street in the city's Mason Square neighborhood.

"This project has been in the making for many years and to know that it's really happening is exciting," said Barbara Graham, a Springfield School Committee member who has been working with local legislators and city officials to ensure the project moved forward.

"Our administrators, our community and most of all our students deserve to walk into two state-of-the-art schools to admire the beauty, enjoy the comfort, and get the high-quality education they deserve," she added during the event, held at the Monroe and Hawley Street parking area.

She was joined at the construction kickoff by several other city officials, including Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick, Director of the Department of Capital Asset Construction Peter Garvey, and Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Executive Director Jack McCarthy, according to WWLP-22News.

Sarno noted that the city's partnership with the MSBA has proven fruitful.

"They have been a great partner," he told MassLive. "We have done $700 million in projects, building new schools and rehabbing schools."

In addition, Sarno said the new construction adds value to the neighborhood as well.

"Anytime you open up and build a new school, a new library, a new park, that brings a sense of hope, a sense of positivity, not only for that neighborhood, but for the city itself," he explained.

Warwick said the time was now to replace both schools as they are antiquated and in disrepair.

"We have buildings that were built in the 1890s with no cafeterias, no gyms, really substandard buildings, so these projects are big for the city of Springfield and they're big for our future, because our future is our kids," he elaborated.

As part of the consolidation effort, a park that was adjacent to Deberry School will be rebuilt on the old Massachusetts Career Development Institute site on Wilbraham Avenue, MassLive noted.

Garvey, the director of the city's Department of Capital Asset Construction, said the park had to be moved to make room for the two schools.

"There was a lot of thought put into positioning the building," he explained to the news source. "We needed a 5-acre-site for this [new school] and in the middle of a city it is very hard to locate five acres of unused space. The park will be on three acres of land."

The new DeBerry-Home School project is being funded with combined monies from the city and the MSBA, the latter of which will provide $66.4 million towards the construction.

Construction on the new school should be complete by 2023.

It comes on the heels of the finish to Brightwood-Lincoln Elementary School over the summer and which opened in Springfield's North End neighborhood in August.




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