By SCOTT JACKSON
Quincy’s plans to replace the 102-year-old Squantum Elementary School took a step forward Wednesday when the MSBA voted to move the project into its eligibility period.
The next step is for the district to complete preliminary requirements pertaining to local approval and formation of a local school building committee, the MSBA said. Upon timely and successful completion of the eligibility period requirements, the district becomes eligible for an invitation into the feasibility study phase of the MSBA capital pipeline, subject to a vote of the board of directors.
Mayor Thomas Koch welcomed Wednesday’s news.
“This project is vital to the future of Squantum and our city,” he said in a statement. “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.
“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 Councillors and the School Committee for getting us to this point. We have plenty of work ahead, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Supt. Kevin Mulvey said he looked forward to the next step in the process.
“I’m looking forward to working with the MSBA on the Eligibility Phase of the Squantum Elementary School project,” Mulvey said. “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.”
“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,” Ward 6 Councillor William Harris added. “I can think of few higher priorities for myself as ward councillor 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.”
Quincy officials first expressed interest in replacing the Squantum Elementary School since 2015. Located on Huckins Avenue, the Squantum Elementary School was built in 1919 and an addition was added in 1971. City officials said the facility has not seen any substantial improvements since then and the building lacks the space needed in a modern elementary school.
The Squantum Elementary School would be the fourth school building the city has partnered with the MSBA to build in the past dozen years. The new Quincy High School opened in 2010, followed by the new Central Middle School three years later. The South West Middle School opened in 2019, replacing the Sterling Middle School. State reimbursements for those projects have ranged from 60 to 80 percent, saving local taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, city officials said.
The city also plans to renovate a Wollaston office building to convert it into the Richard DeCristofaro Learning Center, which will primarily serve special education students. That project is not being done in concert with the MSBA.
Koch has also expressed an interest in building a new elementary school in West Quincy at the site of the former St. Mary School. He previously said that would be the next project submitted to the MSBA following the Squantum Elementary School.
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. 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.”