By ANITA FRITZ
Friday, October 30, 2015
(Published in print: Saturday, October 31, 2015)
GREENFIELD — “Our students can learn every day in classrooms that demonstrate the belief that a community is as strong as its schools,” said Greenfield school Superintendent Jordana Harper during a ribbon-cutting Friday to dedicate the new high school.
The school opened early in September, but it wasn’t until Friday that state and local legislators joined Harper and Principal Donna Woodcock for the grand opening.
“Modern, spacious learning environments replace the dark, low rooms that many remember from the old GHS,” said Harper. “And while our teachers have always been just as dedicated, our students just as hard working and our administrators, custodians, cafeteria workers, secretaries and coaches just as willing to go the extra mile to do what’s best for our kids, the grand opening of this building marks a momentous occasion, which reminds all of us of the power and potential and the enduring legacy of education.”
About 50 people gathered in the lobby of the $66 million high school, including town councilors, school board members and the public. Among them was Betty Nee, a woman who graduated from GHS in 1952 and never left — staffing the school’s front office until her retirement in 1997 and then spending the next 16 years as a full-time volunteer. Friday, Nee sat on a bench dedicated to her by the Class of 1965.
Mayor William Martin said he is proud that the project was so strongly supported.
“We had an obligation to replace a 60-year-old school,” said Martin. “Everyone stepped up, worked together and made it happen.”
Sen. Stanley Rosenberg said he is happy about the partnership formed between state and local officials to get the job done.
Rosenberg said the insight it took to get the project done was critical, and shows the value and respect that the community and state have and have acted upon.
“Education is the bedrock, the foundation, of a society,” said Rosenberg. “You can’t do these types of projects without the collaboration and cooperation of many sharing their resources.”
John McCarthy of the state School Building Authority, which paid $44 million toward the project, said he has heard from some workers that it was the best project they ever worked on.
McCarthy said Greenfield is very fortunate to have a hands-on mayor who spent many hours on the project, and citizens who overwhelmingly showed their support by voting a Proposition 2½ override.
Rep. Paul Mark said he was pleased to support a project that reinvests in Greenfield’s teachers and students.
“People don’t move here because of the weather,” Mark laughed. “They move here because of the investment they know people are willing to make in education, in the future. Go Green Wave!”
Harper said the new building will have an enduring impact on many students lives now and for years to come.
“Today, (students) can take advantage of a high school that matches their potential, and will help catapult them to greatness,” she said.