But he added during an outdoor ceremony at the school Thursday, “This is an exciting day for the town of Weymouth’s future students. New memories will be created here.”
The existing Chapman School served as a high school, a vocational-technical school, and a middle school from 1963 until it closed last month.
School Superintendent Jennifer Curtis Whipple said Chapman means “so much to the community.
“Weymouth is a very interesting place to live and grow-up in,” she said. “The new structure will keep the name of the Maria Weston Chapman Middle School.”
The new school will accommodate 1,470 students in grades 6-8. It’s expected to be completed in September 2022.
State Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth, said the new Chapman will be a centerpiece in the community “for years to come. It’s an honor to be here to support all of you in the building of this school,” he said.
School Committee Chairwoman Lisa Belmarsh said the groundbreaking wouldn’t be possible without the community’s support and the efforts of longtime resident Laurie Hansen.
“She is not a town employee, but a community member who was at every meeting concerning the construction of a new school,” Belmarsh said. “When she spoke, you could see that people were listening to her. Her leadership and willingness to speak changed the minds of people.”
Belmarsh presented Hanson with an appreciation plaque from the committee for her support.
“She proved one voice could make a difference,” Belmarsh said.
Town Council Vice President Michael Molisse said funding for the project was made possible by a $96.9 million Proposition 2-1/2 debt exclusion approved by voters on April 30, 2019.
“We had never seen an override pass in Weymouth,” he said. “I’ll remember that day. The residents believed in our town, and they had a vision for this community.”
State Sen. Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, said efforts to construct a new Chapman School have “been a long time in the making.
“This discussion goes back to my time as a town councilor,” said O’Connor. “One of my last votes in 2017 as a councilor was to move this project forward with the MSBA.”
O’Connor said he, Murphy, and their colleagues in the legislature were able to persuade the MSBA to provide Weymouth a $57 million state reimbursement, which helped reduce the construction cost.
MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy said the agency’s mission is to partner with communities and sustain their public schools.
“You have put together a great team with HMFH Architects, Hill International, and Bond Brothers,” McCarthy said. “I expect this project to be on budget and on time because that is what these companies have done all over the commonwealth.”
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