BOE gets update on Memorial Blvd. School plans

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The school board heard an update of the status of plans to convert the old Memorial Boulevard School into a magnet school.

Chair of the Board of Education Chris Wilson, announced that Downes Construction Company and D’Amato Construction company have been jointly selected as the firms who will build the Memorial Boulevard Intra-District Arts Magnet School project.

“The committee felt that it was the best value proposition when we looked at their expertise and skill set as well as the cost of the services that they were going to require,” said Wilson. “Our next task is to hire a commissioning agent.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Moreau also discussed the arts magnet school, saying that the Memorial Boulevard School Programming Committee has been working with the architect on “trying to figure out what classroom spaces and what large area spaces we need in the building to support the program that will be developed.”

High School students will continue to receive their core education – English, social studies, math, and science – at their home high school, Central or Eastern, and their “arts strand” will be studied at the arts magnet. Moreau explained that this will run similarly to Bristol Tech, where “students come to their high school, get their core [education], and then go to Bristol Tech for their technical education strand.”

This, Moreau said, is “important in terms of the board being able to staff the school.”

“Middle school students will be receiving a taste of everything, as they do now, where they take the four different options that are available to them, so that they can make a choice as ninth graders as to what pathway they want to pursue,” said Moreau.

“It’s really important to remember that we’re not talking about an arts performance school, we’re talking about a school where students will learn all kinds of design skills using technology that are applicable to many different careers out after high school, including all of the manufacturing opportunities that are in town,” said Moreau.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.