By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, a resident of Shrewsbury, was joined by local and state officials July 22 at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Major Howard W. Beal School which will be built at 214 Lake St., the site of the former Irving A. Glavin Regional Center.
“What we see here today is the culmination of the first chapter of the people process,” remarked Selectman James Kane, who is also the chair of the Beal School Building Committee. “It comes back to people; it comes back to the voters in this town willing to invest… it comes back to those people who walked miles leading up to the [debt exclusion] vote.”
Last fall, voters overwhelmingly approved a debt exclusion last fall to build a new Beal School, replacing the nearly 100-year old original school that was located on Maple Avenue. Prior to the vote, the Massachusetts School Building Association granted final approval for $34 million in funding that will offset nearly $93 million dollars that the K-4 school building project is expected to cost.
Dignitaries noted the spirit of cooperation between all levels of government, as well as public support, was instrumental for the project to move forward.
“This is a really great outcome of a whole lot of collaboration and I think that’s the one word that sums up what this is all about,” Polito said.
“It’s an example of how government should work. Our local officials interacted cooperatively with our state senator and our representative to make sure we not only secured the purchase of this land but also the farmland across the street and the soccer fields making sure that this piece of land is going to be a resource for our community for years to come,” stated Selectman Beth Casavant.
She also thanked the Community Supporters for Beal Campaign who worked tirelessly to ensure the successful Ballot Question for the debt exclusion vote passed last November.
“The new Beal School is our community’s vision for a modern, environmentally friendly building that will serve our town and students for decades,” said School Committee Chair Sandra Fryc. “The new Beal School is a long term solution to space needs and environmental growth across the entire elementary school level.”
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar noted that the school’s electricity will come entirely from solar energy which he said is “a great accomplishment.” He thanked Michael Hale, SELCO’s General Manager, for helping to make this possible.
The school is scheduled to open to approximately 700 students in August 2021, serving grades K through 4. It will also allow for universal access to tuition free full day kindergarten.