The Framingham (Mass.) district has broken ground on a building to replace the 61-year-old Fuller Middle School.
The Framingham Patch reports that the $98.3 million facility is expected to open in 2021-22. The existing school will remain open during construction, so there will be no need for temporary swing space,
The new school will be a three-story building with 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.
The project will be a model of sustainable design, the district says. It will incorporate innovative approaches to saving energyto 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.
The existing Fuller Middle was originally Framingham South High School, built in 1958. 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 educatonal improvements.
David Miles, School Building Committee president, says the work to replace Fuller Middle School can be traced back 20 years.
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.
Fuller Principal Jose Duarte says a new facility is needed. "It's time that we moved to this 21st-century education," he says.
Video: Virtual tour of the new Fuller Middle School.