A year after Quincy officials requested repairs for the aging Sterling Middle School, the district can start planning in earnest
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts School Building Authority approved an eligibility request, inviting Quincy to do preliminary planning for a Sterling project. That will probably lead to a feasibility study, which school officials hope will be followed by designs for a new or rebuilt school that would be built with state reimbursement.
Also on Wednesday, the MSBA approved Quincy's request for window repairs estimated at $2.8 million at North Quincy High, $600,000 at Merrymount Elementary School, and $580,000 for Wollaston Elementary.
The district made this request last year through the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program,
According to a release, school officials have to put out bid packages and create project funding agreements before the work can begin. But officials hope the windows will be installed by the end of summer.
In welcoming the decision on Sterling, City Councilor Brian Palmucci, whose ward includes the school, said, “Whether it’s completely rebuilt or completely a new school, I’m thrilled.
“It’s been a long time coming. Sterling has been talked about for decades. It was in need of major renovations or rebuilding. The vote today signals that that is actually going to happen.”
Quincy officials initially submitted a Statement of Interest to the MSBA in January 2013, asking for solutions to the 87-year-old building.
Sterling would be the final part of an overhauling of Quincy schools, which included the 2010 opening of the new Quincy High School and the completion of the new Central Middle School last year.
“There is no more important investment than the ones we make in our young people, and we must continue to move forward with these vital projects,” Mayor Thomas Koch said in a release. “Sterling is another project discussed for years, and we’re going to get it done.”
Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro pointed to benefits of the district's other new schools.
“A new Sterling Middle School will provide the school's dedicated staff with a state-of-the-art facility that allows them to enhance educational and extracurricular programs … We know from our recent experiences at Quincy High School and Central Middle School that these new facilities transform and enhance a school's culture and climate in so many ways,” he said in a release.
Palmucci said the most significant aspect of the Sterling project will be that students will be able to focus on learning without the distractions that come with an old building.
“The facility now doesn’t rise to the level that is necessary for the quality of students and teachers we have in that building,” Palmucci said. “Kids shouldn’t have to worry about wearing a coat in a classroom because the heat is on the fritz.”