August 30, 2018
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Holyoke Gets Green Light from State to Move Forward with Designing Two New Middle School Buildings
HOLYOKE, Massachusetts– The City of Holyoke and the Holyoke Public Schools announced yesterday that they have received approval from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to allow the construction of two middle schools, pending voter approval next spring. The consultant team includes Project Manager Pinck & Co. of Springfield, MA, and Architect, Jones Whitsett Architects, of Greenfield, MA.
At the MSBA Board meeting on Wednesday, August 29th, the board voted to move forward with the design of a new building on the open block adjacent to the H.B. Lawrence School and a new building to replace the William R. Peck School on the existing site.
“It has been more than 30 years since Holyoke has built a new school,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. “We are extremely pleased that the MSBA has voted to allow us to build two schools for our students. We believe these two schools will provide optimal access and space to meet our community’s needs. Our students deserve to have world-class educational facilities where they can thrive as they prepare to move onto secondary education and eventually college and careers.”
School Committee Vice-Chair and School Building Chair Devin Sheehan said, “I am very grateful that the MSBA has given this exciting opportunity to the City of Holyoke. The volunteers of the School Building Committee have been working for over a year to get approval for two new middle schools for the City.”
“I am thrilled that the MSBA is supporting the design of two new middle school buildings in Holyoke,” said Representative Aaron Vega. “I encourage our community to get involved by sharing your ideas and hopes on the design of these buildings and the opportunities our students will have as a result.”
Citizens of Holyoke, especially families of young Holyoke Public Schools students, are invited to participate in the design process at upcoming community meetings. The first is scheduled for Wednesday, October 25th in the Holyoke Public Library Community Room at 6:00 PM. There will be many opportunities for community input over the next eight months, and ultimately, Holyoke voters will decide whether to construct two new middle school buildings.
Over the past three years, the Holyoke Public Schools has engaged in an extensive analysis and community process to solicit input on the structure of schools in the district, which resulted in a call for new middle school space. “The overwhelming result was a preference for separate elementary and middle schools,” stated Dr. Stephen Zrike, Jr., Receiver/Superintendent, Holyoke Public Schools (HPS). “We thank the MSBA for their review and approval. Opening new middle schools is aligned with our vision of a pathway for every student, responds to community input and creates more choice for students and families. As a district, we are excited to continue this next step of re-envisioning the middle school experience for Holyoke students.”
The MSBA funds the improvement of district educational spaces throughout the Commonwealth through a competitive process. Documentation of the Board presentation and approval can be found on the MSBA Board webpage at http://www.massschoolbuildings.org/about/board_leadership/board_meetings.
More about Holyoke Public Schools:
Holyoke Public Schools (HPS) serves nearly 5,500 students in twelve schools. The District is in the midst of an exciting turnaround effort, which includes significant autonomy and flexibility from the traditional school system. Leading the turnaround is Superintendent/Receiver of Schools Dr. Stephen Zrike, Jr., a seasoned Massachusetts educator. The district is committed to ensuring that public education in Holyoke includes diverse voices and perspectives from across the community and helps ALL students achieve success. Recently, HPS has embarked on an exciting high school and middle school redesign process that is aligned with the vision of a pathway for every student and desire to create more choice for students and families. For more information about the Holyoke Public Schools, please visit: https://www.hps.holyoke.ma.us.