By TOM GORMAN
The new middle school under construction in West Quincy will bear a new name when it opens next fall.
During a special organizational meeting on Monday, the school committee unanimously approved to name the school, South-West Middle School. Initially, the new facility was to carry on the name of its replacement, the Reay A. Sterling Middle School.
“This brings it back to a geographic location,” Mayor Thomas Koch said. “It’s a great connection and a great sense of pride for that part of the city.”
Koch explained that Quincy’s middle schools, such as Central and Atlantic, and a few elementary schools, are named after their location in the city.
According to committee member Paul Bregoli, the Sterling School was originally called South Junior High School when it opened in 1924. The school was renamed for its longtime principal, Reay A. Sterling, after he passed away in 1963.
The Sterling name will not disappear entirely. The new school’s library will be named in his memory.
School Supt. Dr. Richard DeCristofaro said the idea of renaming the new school came up several months ago. The proposal was discussed this spring by the school committee, its subcommittees, and with parents, alum, students and Sterling’s family.
Sterling’s widow and two of his three children are deceased. DeCristofaro said he spoke with Glen Sterling, a grandson, about the proposal and that he was in favor of naming the new school’s library in memory of his grandfather.
DeCristofaro said there was no strong opposition to the new school’s new name and that most were in favor.
“The theme I got from the students, teachers and parents was, it’s a new beginning,” he said. “It’s a new building and a new beginning for our kids.”
The school is being built behind the existing Sterling Middle School on Granite Street towards the Robert Street side. Construction on the $59 million facility began just a year ago.
The new 95,155 square-foot middle school will accommodate up to 430 students in grades five through eight and qualifies as a “green” building due to its environmentally friendly design.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority is reimbursing the city more than 73 percent, or $39 million of the total $59 million cost. However, about $16 million of “ineligible” costs are not being covered by the state, including the new auditorium, furniture, technology, and asbestos removal.
Once the new facility is opened, the existing school will be torn down to make way for playfields.
Koch said the new school will augment the new park across from Lincoln-Hancock School.
“It’s an exciting time for that neighborhood,” he said.
Bregoli noted that the neighborhood is getting its school name back.
“It only took 50 or 60 years,” he said, joking.
However, some may always refer to the new school as Sterling Middle.
“Some students will always say ‘I went to Sterling,’” said DeCristofaro.
In another matter, the committee approved amendments to six school committee policy provisions.
One included a proposal by Douglas Gutro to amend a provision allowing school committee members to submit agenda item requests in writing. He said, up to now, verbal requests are made to the superintendent.
Gutro said that written requests made in advance of a meeting would give attribution, accuracy, transparency, and clarity to a specific request.
After a discussion, the committee supported Vice Chairwoman Emily Lebo’s motion to allow the submission of written agenda item requests five days prior to a meeting.
The committee’s seven subcommittees met simultaneously to discuss agenda items, goals and priorities for the upcoming school year. The subcommittees are, policy; special education; rules, post audit and oversight; teaching and learning; facilities, transportation, and security; budget and finance; athletic and wellness.