WEYMOUTH — Superintendent Jennifer Curtis-Whipple and Mayor Robert L. Hedlund are pleased to announce that a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Maria Weston Chapman Middle School was held Thursday, July 2.
“I am so proud that this beautiful new structure will start a new educational legacy, and just like its namesake, I challenge all who are part of this new and exciting chapter for our school community and community at large to speak their truths, let their voices be heard, embrace change, equity and never forget the incredible power that education has,” Superintendent Curtis-Whipple said. “I firmly believe that this new school will provide the educational opportunities to positively change the future for all who are — and will be — part of this new Maria Weston Chapman Middle School.”
Superintendent Curtis-Whipple also gave a brief history of Maria Weston Chapman and her family, including their role in the fight against slavery and empowering the voices of women.
Additional remarks were given by Massachusetts School Building Authority Executive Director Jack McCarthy, Weymouth Town Council Vice President Michael Molisse, State Sen. Patrick O’Connor and State Rep. James Murphy.
“I know many people have nostalgia for this school, for the friendships gained here and the knowledge gained here, and we hope that an even higher level of academic excellence will occur at this new facility once it is built,” Mayor Hedlund said. “I want to thank all of the people who made it possible for us to be here today, especially the citizens of Weymouth who voted to make a significant investment by overwhelmingly supporting this project from the beginning.”
Mayor Hedlund also acknowledged members of the Weymouth School Committee, School Building Committee and Weymouth Town Council, many of whom were in attendance.
Representatives from project architect HMFH Architects, project manager Hill International and general contractor Bond Building Inc. were also on hand.
Prior to the groundbreaking, Weymouth School Committee Chair Lisa Belmarsh presented community member Laurie Hansen with the Massachusetts Association of School Committee’s Community Leader for Public Education Award.
Hansen was highly active during the Vote Yes for Chapman campaign, attending every School Building Committee meeting and public hearing leading up to the vote.
“When Laurie spoke you could see people listening, shaking their heads in agreement. Her leadership and willingness to speak out changed minds to vote yes, and I’m sure we would not be here today without her,” School Committee Chair Belmarsh said. “She proves that one voice can make a difference.”
Superintendent Curtis-Whipple and Mayor Hedlund also opened a time capsule that was sealed when the current Chapman School was constructed in 1963.
Items inside the capsule included a 1962 yearbook, the program from the 1963 Chapman school dedication ceremony, a 1960 Weymouth Town Report, newspaper clippings from the time and various other school-related materials.
Superintendent Curtis-Whipple said she hopes current Weymouth students will work to select items to be included in a new time capsule that can be buried during the current building project.
About the New School Project
The new Maria Weston Chapman Middle School is designed to house 1,470 students in grades 6-8 on the site of the existing school. The site will be vacated during construction with the 8th grade students moving into temporary spaces within the Weymouth High School and the 7th grade students relocating into the Adams Middle School. At the same time, 5th grade, which is currently in the Adams Middle School, will move into modular classrooms placed at multiple town elementary schools. At the conclusion of the project, and after town wide primary school redistricting, the Adams School building will become Weymouth’s ninth K-5 elementary school.
The old Chapman building will be fully demolished with the exception of the existing gymnasium block. The new Chapman Middle School will be 252,170 square feet, including 220,880 square feet of new construction along with 31,290 square feet of renovated gymnasium space.
The new Maria Weston Chapman Middle School is scheduled to open in September of 2022.