Inside the New Galvin Middle School


Don’t believe what you read on social media.

galvin_outdoor_learning_areaContrary to Facebook rumors, the new Galvin Middle School will open on time. Permanent Building Committee member Chip Tarbell confirmed that Building Inspector Jack Roberto issued an Occupancy Permit for the new school on Monday, August 25 and teachers are unpacking and preparing their classrooms this week in anticipation of the first day of school.

Tarbell was kind enough to take this Daily Item reporter on a tour of the impressive new educational facility earlier this week and there’s no doubt that students and teachers are going to be thrilled with their new digs.

There are two main entrances to the building: the student entrance and the so called public entrance. The public entrance opens to the corridor that features the auditorium on the left. The gymnasium is not yet built but will be located at the end of the public corridor. The public entrance will be used for night and weekend functions at the auditorium and gym.

Tarbell noted that grade 5 will occupy the first floor, grade 6 classrooms will be on the second floor and the third floor will belong to grades 7 and 8. The wall tiles for each grade’s assigned floor are color coded: orange for the first floor, green for the second floor and blue for the third floor.

The classroom part of the first floor has been dubbed the Atwell Academic Wing. “We tried to keep all the names intact,” Tarbell said.

Classrooms are located along the sides of the building and feature large, bright windows. Project rooms and teachers’ meeting spaces are in the center of the building. Tarbell pointed out that most rooms in the center of the building are equipped with skylights so that even they benefit from a good deal of natural light. Project rooms are all two stories high and the activity in those rooms can be viewed from windows along the upper floor corridors.

The “Learning Commons” – what others might call a Media Center and what previous generations referred to as a library – is located just off the corridor from the main entrance. The room is currently filled with boxes waiting to be unpacked.

The shiny new “Mike Angelo Cafeteria” looks ready to start serving up school lunches. Tarbell pointed out that the walls of the cafeteria have sound-proofing panels to absorb some of the cacophony of large groups of students gathered for lunch.
The music rooms and the gym are the next phase of the project and are expected to be finished by next spring and be ready for the start of the 2015 school year, Tarbell said. In the meantime, project rooms will be used for music instruction.

Tarbell noted that 8th grade science classrooms are equipped with fume hoods for science experiments.

He pointed out that the new art classrooms have “great windows and great light” and include facilities for working with clay, including a kiln. Large display cases are set into the corridor walls across from the art rooms so that student work can be prominently exhibited.

Gone are the old style tall, narrow student lockers. The new half-lockers are arranged in double rows along the corridors and are wide enough to fit a backpack.
Tarbell offered a sneak peak at the new auditorium, which is currently filled with staging as work continues. Tarbell said that the staging will start to come down in the next couple of weeks and finish work will begin. Once school is open, he said, the focus will shift to finishing the auditorium, which is expected to come on line in late October or early November. Tarbell said that the space will be ready for the November Regular Town Meeting.
A formal public ceremony to mark the opening of the new school is expected to take place in November, once the auditorium is finished.

MORE PHOTOS (Click each photo to enlarge)

[This story originally appeared in the August 26, 2014 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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