There’s something special about the elementary school years, a time when kids learn to work and play well with others, not run with scissors, and absorb concepts of language, literacy, and numbers. The building where so much growth takes place looms large to its young students. But as we heard over and over during Wednesday’s Farewell to Hunnewell event, “It looks so much smaller now.” If you’ve ever visited your former grade school, you understand. There are so many memories squeezed into those K-5 classrooms, it hardly seems possible that the walls can contain them all.
The open house gave current and former students, their families, and community members one last chance to visit classrooms before Hunnewell, built in 1938, is razed and replaced with a new 76,500 sq. ft. 18-classroom school slated to open in early 2024. Superintendent David Lussier told me at the event that fencing will go up around the school within days, marking the area as a construction zone. Staff and students will be divvied up among other schools under a swing space plan come fall. More on the school construction plans.
As I wandered the halls where I spent so little time volunteering back when my kids were at Hunnewell, a pack of excited friends darted past. “To the music room! Run!” When their school is going down, who’s going to tell the kids they can’t run in the halls if they feel like it? Not me.
Outside, I bumped into a trio of young men who I once could have named by spotting them across a crowded playground. No more. These were now college students, stopping by to remember the old days. Lifelong friends, said the mom of one of the guys. Hunnewell tends to have that effect on people.
I looked around for my tour companions, who had long since lost patience with my frequent stops to talk to old friends. A quick phone call gave me the predictable response. “We’re playing on the playground,” they said. Of course they were. Some things never change.