The Memorial Boulevard School was built in 1921, with funds and grounds provided to Bristol by the Rockwell Family. It served as a high school until around 1960, when it became a middle school. It was closed in 2012.
After the school was closed, Bristol formed a committee that was hoping to do a total renovation of what Superintendent of Schools Susan Moreau deemed the most remarkable aspect of the building: the theater.
“We found out there was a possibility of funding from the state,” said Moreau, “to create an intra [meaning only within Bristol] district magnet school.”
Moreau said that during her time as principal at the now closed Bingham School, a H.O.T (Higher Order Thinking) school, they had a five year grant from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts. “I had artists in residence who came and worked with the kids, and it really made an amazing difference in who they [her students] were.”
Now that the Memorial Boulevard School has been returned to the Board of Education and the grant has been applied for, Moreau hopes to have an answer about the grant by February.
Moreau explained that if MBS should get the grant, they hope to open it as a magnet school for the 2020-2021 school year, on the 100th anniversary of the building. It would be for grades 6 to 12, with 75 students per grade. Availability would be on a lottery system.
“Students don’t have to be musicians, actors, dancers, or artists,” said Moreau. “Because there are so many other aspects of the arts. Those roles are only about 10 percent of the arts, the other 90 percent is made up of the people making the ‘stars’ look good; the set designers, the costumes, the lighting crew, and more.”
Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.