In mid-June of 2018, the city of Somerville held its Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Somerville High School Building Project.  Although many students and teachers had relocated to modular classrooms during the April 2018 break, the June ceremony officially kicked off the construction. City and state elected officials and leaders, Somerville staff and students, project contractors, and other members of the Somerville community gathered to celebrate the community’s milestone.

The project is expected to take three years and culminate in a new building that will foster a nurturing, collaborative, and innovate learning environment for generations of Somerville High School (SHS) students to come.  It will repair the structural issues and energy inefficiencies that the current building has faced for years, but it will go even further beyond that. The new building will be state of the art featuring collaborative and flexible spaces. It will also be certified by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) as a green building. The project is slated for completion in May of 2021.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, both Mayor Joe Curtatone and Superintendent Mary Skipper cited how the design would benefit current and future students.  With more collaborative space, community will grow stronger; with new technology, students will have greater opportunities to innovate.  The improvements the new building will make upon the existing one will elevate the educational opportunities at SHS, allowing students to get more out of their time in high school and thus give more to their communities after graduation.

Congressman Mike Capuano and Alderman Mary Jo Rossetti attested to both the successes and shortcomings of SHS, as they and generations of their families had proudly attended SHS.  They recognized the importance of the school and the students in the community, as the students are the future and the school provides them a place to explore, learn, and grow. They, as well as many other community members, expressed excitement to see the school rebuilt to address the issues, allowing the strengths of the school to continue to serve current and future generations of students. School Committee member and SC building project representative Carrie Normand also passionately conveyed what SHS means to students and to the community as a place to learn, gather, and connect.

At the end of the ceremony, community members and representatives from various organizations involved in this project joined Mayor Curtatone, Superintendent Skipper, SHS Principal Sebastian LaGambina, and SHS students and staff in front of a pit of sand to symbolically break ground on this community project.  They triumphantly lifted a shovel full of sand in celebration of the future of Somerville High School.

Katherine Fielding, 2018 Tisch Fellow