Out With The Old, In With The New
Have you seen the old Wood School in Fairhaven, lately? If not, you’d better see it soon…or you’ll never see it again. Work crews are feverishly knocking it to the ground in order to build a new, state of the art, 24 million dollar school (15 million dollars of the tab will be picked up by the state… 9 million by Fairhaven taxpayers). The timetable? An aggressive 13 months start to finish. The goal is to start the first day of school next year in a brand new school on Sconticut Neck Road.
Meanwhile, across town, the Wood School is in the process of temporarily setting up shop in the formerly vacant Oxford school in North Fairhaven. This morning, volunteers from Lowe’s used their vacation days to do some landscaping in front of the school. Teachers and custodians have been scrambling around replacing windows in the cafeteria, painting, installing ceiling fans and dehumidifiers, and trying to get their classrooms set for the first day of school on August 28th. “Everybody has been pitching in,” says Principal Amy Hartley-Matteson. Kids, parents, and grandparents toured the school during an open house last night. Ms. Hartley-Matteson said their response was “super, super positive…beyond favorable.”
Superintendant Dr. Bob Baldwin said, “Parents wanted to be assured the Oxford School is a safe and clean environment that is conducive to learning…and by all accounts it is.” When asked about the possibility of asbestos, Dr. Baldwin said they played it extra safe by getting the tiles in the Oxford School abated and replaced. “It wasn’t necessary…but we did it anyway…just to be sure.” Baldwin also said air quality tests were done in the school and they “all passed muster.”
So, with the Wood School ‘playing on the road’ this year…what will the school be called? Will it be the Wood School or the Oxford School? The official answer to that question is “The Wood School.” That is the name that will appear on all school paperwork, etc.
And the 24 million dollar question: What will Fairhaven’s NEW multi million dollar school be called when it is unveiled next year? The answer ultimately lies with the school committee, but if it were up to the superintendant…the new school would continue to be called the Wood School. “Here’s my rationale,” says Baldwin. “The town renovated the high school, it is still Fairhaven High School. The East Fairhaven School was demolished, knocked to the ground and rebuilt, and the new school was named the East Fairhaven School. If we built this school on the site of the Rogers School, it would be call the Rogers School. In my opinion, this new school should be the Wood School.” He said the job of the administration is to make the transition as smooth as possibly for the children. “Naming of the school is something that adults get wrapped up in…it’s not something kids think about when they are in the classroom learning.”
There will be another open house at the Oxford School this Wednesday night from 6:30-7:30pm