Repost from Wicked Local Medford
Itâ€™s been 995 days since Medford school officials approved a nearly $14 million budget and schematic design to renovate 17 science labs at Medford High School. For those in the school community, itâ€™s been well worth the wait.
When the doors open at the high school on Wednesday, Sept. 3, the science labs under construction all last year will finally be put to good use. For Headmaster Dr. John Perella, seeing the labs through to their completion is the perfect way to start the new school year.
"Itâ€™s certainly been a long time coming, especially for those of us who lived through the construction phase," Perella said. "Having these labs be a reality is really a special moment. We had to move 17 classrooms and nearly a quarter of our lockers were out of commission. Itâ€™s only natural for people to have been anxious waiting for the labs to be completed, but that only adds to the anticipation and now the excitement." Perella said the disruption caused as a result of the year-long construction was never something that negatively affected the quality of education at MHS. In fact, he said the entire school was behind the project and made sure the transition year was as smooth as possible.
"Itâ€™s very rewarding to know that when you look at the numbers, you see that our MCAS scores were up and we performed well in all other statistical analyses," Perella said. "We didnâ€™t just survive the construction of the space, we came through ahead of where we were when we started. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s most exciting, knowing that now we have this amazing space to use to best educate our students."
21st century labs
The Massachusetts School Building Authority is picking up nearly 60 percent of the cost of the lab construction and renovation. During the design stage of the project, the MSBA independently approved the plans, and Director Jack McCarthy was one of the many individuals present for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the labs in June.
The new, state-of-the-art labs will be used by both Medford High School and Medford Vocational Technical High School students. The rooms will allow for modern engineering, biotechnology, environmental science and robotics classes to be taught.
The space will feature new lecture halls, professional development rooms for staff members, a centralized chemical storage area and new projectors.
Superintendent of Schools Roy Belson said the bigger rooms will allow the school to accommodate guest speakers and space for multiple classes, while the staff prep areas will allow teachers to get ready for classes while still keeping an eye on their room.
One of the highlights of the labs is they will help teachers meet the needs of modern-day curriculum standards, in an age when science and technology education is at the forefront.