By Lisa Kopochinski
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—Ground was broken recently on a new $98.3 million middle school in Framingham that will replace the existing Fuller Middle School.
The groundbreaking comes six months after voters in the city overwhelmingly approved a debt exclusion for the city’s part of the new school, which will replace the 61-year-old Fuller Middle School.
When built in 1958, the Fuller Middle School was originally the Framingham South High School. According to a statement from the Framingham, Mass., School District, when the North and South high schools combined to create Framingham High School in the 1990s, the building was repurposed into a middle school. The district determined that renovating the aging facility would be more costly than new construction and would provide no educational improvements.
The new school is expected to open in 2021-22. The existing school will remain open during construction. Consigli Construction is the general contractor on this impressive project, and Jonathan Levi Architects is the architect.
The new three-story building will include a learning commons/cafeteria at the core surrounded by collaboration balconies. In addition to classrooms, the school will have an 8,300-square-foot gymnasium, a 420-seat auditorium, and space dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) instruction.
A model of sustainable design, the new school will incorporate innovative approaches to saving energy to provide a comfortable, safe environment. Classroom windows will be split into a lower and upper section; the lower section glass will provide natural light, views and fresh air, and the upper section will be positioned over “light shelves” that reflect daylight onto a white ceiling, which in turn shines deep into the room. The lighting is designed to dim or brighten depending on how sunny it is outside.
Last year, the Massachusetts School Building Authority agreed to reimburse $39.5 million to the city for the school construction, leaving the other $58.8 million for local taxpayers to pay.
It’s time that we moved to this 21st-century education,” said Fuller Principal Jose Duarte, in a statement.