EASTON — Superintendent Lisha Cabral and School Planning Committee Chair Jane Martin are pleased to announce that a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Blanche A. Ames Elementary School was held Friday, April 9.
The full ceremony, recorded by Easton Community Access Television, can be viewed here.
“I’m incredibly, incredibly grateful to everybody who has contributed to this project so far,” Martin said. “We are so fortunate to live in a state where our elected leaders and the governance that’s in place strongly support progressive education, and that support comes through today really clearly in terms of this project.”
Martin opened the ceremony by thanking the Massachusetts School Building Authority; the town committees, community members and educators who have been involved in the process; the project team; and town leadership.
Superintendent Cabral gave a brief history of Blanche A. Ames, including her architectural skills, inventions, suffragette efforts, botanical research and her drawings of orchids.
“We found Blanche Ames to be extraordinary, not only for her contributions to this town, but as a role model for our youngest learners,” Superintendent Cabral said. “We’re extremely proud to have this [building named after a] woman who was a suffragette fighting for women’s rights; she was an architect, of Borderland Mansion; she was an inventor, everything from designing ways to keep turkeys from becoming diseased, to toilets, to anti-aircraft devices for the military. She was a talented botanical artist and certainly a leader well before her time. We are absolutely thrilled that our young people for a century now will have this beautiful building in her name.”
She added, “Once you come to this building when it’s completed, which we hope you will, you will see that it is absolutely developed in her honor — spaces for creativity, innovation and civic possibilities, and exactly what I believe Blanche Ames would have wanted for our youngest citizens of Easton.”
Additional remarks were given by Massachusetts School Building Authority Deputy Chief Executive Officer Jack McCarthy; Congressman Jake Auchincloss; State Rep. and Majority Leader Claire Cronin; State Auditor Suzanne Bump; State Sen. Walter Timilty; State Sen. Michael Brady; State Rep. Carol Doherty; Easton Select Board Chair Dottie Fulginiti; and Town Administrator Connor Read. Parkview School Principal Samuel Cederbaum also gave remarks on behalf of the Pre-K-2 principals.
“This groundbreaking event symbolizes the years of planning, visioning and designing that have gone into making the Blanche Ames Ames Elementary School a reality,” Cederbaum said. “Thanks to the commitment from our community, Easton’s youngest learners will now begin their educational journey in a state-of-the-art building designed just for them. From the colors, to the themes and the creatively designed spaces, our students will have a place to explore, play, innovate and learn.”
Superintendent Cabral also recognized the members of the Easton School Committee; Assistant Superintendent Crissy Pruitt; Director of Operations David Twombly; Director of Finance Marilyn Gordon; Director of Student Services Theresa Skinner; and the Pre-K-2 administrative team, including Ann Weintrob, Thomas Higgins and Cederbaum.
Representatives from design company Perkins Eastman, project manager PMA Consultants and general contractor Brait Builders Corporation were also on hand.
“We are so indebted to [the taxpayers and community] for really being forward-thinking about the children of the future,” Superintendent Cabral said. “Please know, that throughout the design process we had the community in mind. I think you will be very impressed at the sophistication of the designs in the way that they offer child-friendly spaces, but very generous community uses. We are excited to welcome the community into this building for many uses that, right now, we just haven’t been able to do in our elementary schools. This will be a building for all residents of Easton.”
Construction on the new building is currently scheduled to finish in October 2022.