Public Gets Preview of New Minuteman High School Building Due to Open in 2019

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Minuteman High School

An illustration of what the new Minuteman High School building will look like when it is completed. The Lexington-based vocational technical school is attended by dozens of Watertown students.

An illustration of what the new Minuteman High School building will look like when it is completed. The Lexington-based vocational technical school is attended by dozens of Watertown students.

The following piece was provided by Minuteman High School:

Members of the public recently toured the new Minuteman High School during an Open House, and by all accounts, they were overwhelmingly impressed with the $145 million, state-of-the-art facility, which is still under construction. It is scheduled to open in the early summer of 2019.

“All day long, people described the new building as awesome, gorgeous, and unbelievable,” said Minuteman Assistant Director of Admissions and Outreach Maggie F. Miller. “I sensed genuine excitement from everyone.”

She noted that there has already been a spike in applications for the 2019-2020 school year.

“The parents and students were very excited to see all the progress that has been made,” said Assistant Principal Brian Tildsley. “Our tours were booked solid all the way out to 1:30 p.m. within the first 45 minutes of our Open House that began at 10:45 a.m. The excitement in the air was much different than in years past. The positive buzz after [Minuteman Regional District School Committee member from Dover and chair of the Minuteman School Building Committee] Ford Spalding’s and Minuteman Principal Jack Dillon’s tours was undeniable.”

The tours lasted about 25 minutes per group and were led by Mr. Spalding, Principal Dillon, Gregory Joynt of Kastle Boos Architects and Gerry Albert of Skanska, the project managers, and Walter Kincaid of Gilbane Building Co. This was only the first of several anticipated events that will take place during the upcoming months to introduce the new building to the public.

The building has been closed in for the winter with glass windows installed and utilities mostly installed. The rooms are defined and drywall is being installed. The public was allowed to see 75 percent of the building, including the trades halls in the Engineering, Construction and Trades Academy and the Life Sciences and Services Academy. Other features they viewed were the Student Union and the gymnasium.

The new Minuteman High School has been designed to support a robust college and career academy model. The academy model was adopted by staff and administration to create smaller “schools within a school,” thereby
promoting more personalized learning founded upon close relationships between students and teachers. The Minuteman college and career academy model integrates rigorous academics with relevant technical
programming in occupational areas providing individual economic opportunity.

The new facility will accommodate project-based learning across disciplines, requiring students to learn how to work on a diverse team, solve problems and think critically. These are essential 21st-century skills that students practice and apply in a variety of school- and work-based environments.

“A conservative estimate is that 650 people visited that day, said Ms. Miller. “We captured 215 students’ information, a vast majority of whom live in-district or come from eligible out-of-district towns. Some of these students had previously participated in our Showcase day and returned with their parents in enthusiasm. I had the opportunity to meet many families at the Open House and I was humbled with the compliments. Parents had some great questions regarding the process of moving into the new building and how that will affect us. I was able to convey my eagerness for all the students to utilize the new facility.”

She continued, “It was a very inspirational day filled with emotion, from our senior ambassadors and their final Open House as well as our potential eighth graders investigating what could possibly be their new school. Between being recently recognized as a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School for our amazing academic achievements and a having a newly constructed school, we continue to move forward. Our teachers and staff are eager to see this vision come to life, and we tried to impart those feelings to our visitors.”

Mr. Spalding reported, “I had the opportunity to talk with some parents and all were very impressed with the education that will be implemented in the new building. Some also talked about the unique value of a career and technical education. The students that I had the opportunity to talk with all seemed to know what subjects they were interested in and wanted to pursue.”

Ms. Miller was especially moved by two memorable encounters she had during the event.

“Towards the end of the day,” she said, “I had a mother come and introduce herself to me. She and I had spoken many times on the phone about her son. These conversations focused on whether Minuteman was going to be
the right place for him. They had visited several career majors throughout the day, but her son was especially excited about our new Multi-Media Engineering program which will be headquartered in our brand new, state- of-the-art theater. The mother started tearing up during our discussion. She hadn’t seen her son this excited about school in a long time and she was humbled to know that he was eager to not only learn a trade but meet
new friends.”

Ms. Miller added, “I had the chance to meet another mother who wanted to know about our academic programs. Her daughter is a straight-A student in middle school right now and loves animals. After our Admissions team
went to her school, she continued to show interest in our Environmental Science program. She knew she would be able to work with animals in her career major week while continuing with rigorous academics throughout
high school. While visiting, they didn’t only get to meet the career major teachers and academic teachers, but they also met some of the animals.

“This family toured the new building, and when I asked the daughter what she thought of it, she said it was awesome and she could really visualize going to school here. When I asked her where she saw herself hanging
out or eating lunch, she was quick to respond, saying she would be either sitting on the balcony in the café or looking out all the windows from the library. I shared the same excitement about the library and the wall of
windows. It is a sight to be seen. She is really looking forward to coming back and seeing it when it’s completed.”

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