The Senior High School of Norwood, Massachusetts (USA) was built in the 1920’s and in it’s 86 proud years, thousands of students, including my own, have graduated from the “School on the Hill”. But the march of progress and the passage of time brought about the realization that it had served it’s purpose and was in need of replacement.
So, after much debate, it was voted upon and agreed, and a $68 million project was begun directly behind the existing school. Over the past few years, construction has progressed, remarkably, ahead of schedule and under budget, and the new school will greet it’s first students next month.
The new school boasts “a state-of-the-art library, large gymnasium, and full performance center along with other energy-saving amenities. Solar panels on top of the gymnasium will generate electricity, and the field of solar conversion will be integrated into the curriculum in the solar and robotics labs. There is wireless technology throughout the 227,500-square-foot building, a water-recycling system that reuses 20,000 gallons of rainwater, and automated ambient lighting in 1,200 new windows”. In other words, they did it right.
I visited the site of the old and new schools last weekend, mainly to capture the demolition of the old school, which I did. There was little left besides it’s distinctive tower and cupola, perched high above the remains of the main part of the building. (And as of this writing, that tower is now gone.)
I couldn’t help but think of all the lives that were touched in this old building: students and teachers, parents and staff. There were, no doubt, countless joys and sorrows, achievements and challenges, songs and cheers, friendships and tears. When I looked into the ruins, I spotted a poster still clinging to a bulletin board, with photos, drawings and graphs. The heading reads: “What are you going to do with your life?” That’s a question that we never finish answering.
But when I walked to the back of the property, around the mounds of excavated dirt and through the construction equipment, like Dorothy opening the door when her house landed in Oz, I let out a slight gasp when I saw the new school, pristine, shining, and patiently waiting.
“Honor the Past, Meet the Needs of the Present, and Provide Success for the Future”, reads the Norwood High motto. Thanks to the determination of those who conceived of and supported, designed and built this beautiful school, and the dedicated faculty and staff who have and will continue to touch lives in meaningful ways, I am confident that these words will continue to ring true for many more generations.
Posted by Ed