The cutting of the official ribbon on the Clark Avenue Middle School on Oct. 3 signaled the ceremonial opening of the
school, but it also signaled the investment in the youth of Chelsea – an investment that community and state leaders said was deserved and overdue.
Supt. Mary Bourque welcomed dignitaries to the school the evening of Oct. 3 for tours and a celebration of a school that took six years to complete, and nearly 20 to plan.
“This is six years in the making,” said Bourque. “We have so many people to thank for this building…Most importantly, this community has invested in the next generation of leaders and we are proud of that.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino thanked the abutters, who he said showed great patience while the City completed a two-phase, six-year planning/building project. In the end, he said the City promised a better neighborhood, and did deliver.
“I can’t think of anything more awful than being an abutter to a school building project, especially one that lasts three years in construction,” he said. “These neighbors put up with an awful lot. We asked they just have patience with us three years ago and they did. We promised them at the end they would have an investment in the neighborhood and they would have a building that would be the heart of the neighborhood and a municipal building they would be proud of…I think it’s easy to say the City and School Committee brought that promise to this neighborhood.”
The school building project began six years ago when the City started the planning and financial funding for the project. After a long process at the City and State level, construction began about three years ago. The first phase completed in Dec. 2016, with students moving in for January 2017. The second and final phase ended this past summer, with the entire school opening to students this school term. It was constructed on top of the site where the former Chelsea High School once sat – a building that was demolished in phases as part of the construction project.
The school cost around $53 million, and state School Building Authority (MSBA) Director Jack McCarthy noted that the state has paid about $36 million of that bill.
“I want to congratulate the leaders in Chelsea,” he said. “You created a great school and this was not an easy project. I knew it would be successful when I saw the team that had been assembled. I didn’t hear a lot about this project. When I don’t hear about a project, that’s a good thing.”
School Committee Chair Jeannette Velez said she has seen students at the Clark Avenue excited to come in and be able to access modern facilities. She said it’s important to have a new and up-to-date building to help students achieve.
“These are the students we are educating so they can come back and make our city even better,” she said.
The architects on the project were HMFH, which also designed the Burke Complex many years ago. The Owner’s Project Manager was Pinck & Co. and the Construction Manager W.T. Rich Company, Inc.
Chelsea Supt. Mary Bourque, flanked by City Manager Tom Ambrosino and MSBA Director Jack McCarthy, cuts the ceremonial ribbon on the Clark Avenue School with other dignitaries.
School Committee members (standing) Jeannette Velez and Julio Hernandez. (Sitting) Kelly Garcia, Yessenia Alfaro-Alvarez, and Rosemarie Carlisle.
Councillor Bob Bishop and his wife, Ann.
MSBA Director Jack McCarthy spoke about how smooth the Clark Avenue School project went.
Former 5th grade math teacher Robert Dotolo with his former student, School Committeeman Julio Hernandez.
School Committeeman Julio Hernandez, City Manager Tom Ambrosino, Supt. Mary Bourque, MSBA Director Jack McCarthy, Councillor Roy Avellaneda and Councillor Yamir Rodriguez.
Noel Velez (right), assistant business manager for the schools, with his family, Sophia, Adriel and Julius Velez.
The members of the project team gathered for a photo in front of the school.
School Business Manager Mike Mason posed in front of the school values: citizenship, leadership, accountability and knowledge.
Former Principal Mary Leverone with current Principal Michael Talbot in the new gym.
Members of the architectural firm HMFH, including Lori Cowles, Caitlin Osepchuk, Chris Vance, Arthur Duffy, Suni Dillard and Vassilios Valaes.