Town and School leaders joined together on Thursday, October 13 to move some dirt and mark a major milestone - the official groundbreaking for Wellesley's new Hunnewell Elementary School.
Even a slight drizzle didn't dampen the celebratory mood of the event that included past and present School Committee members, Select Board members, School Building Committee members, Wellesley Public Schools administrators, and current Hunnewell School families.
Addressing the group, WPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Lussier referred to the groundbreaking as his "version of a barn raising," sharing memories from Hunnewell alumni and highlighting the many years of work, extensive study, public input and community support for the project.
The old Hunnewell building, which dated back to 1938, was torn down in late summer. The foundation for the new 18-classroom building is already visible on the site, mapping out the two-story, modern design with state-of-the-art technology that is "purpose-built for 21st century learning," according to School Committee member Catherine Mirick.
While Hunnewell is under construction, students and staff are divided up among other Wellesley elementary host schools.
Permanent Building Committee Chair Michael Tauer thanked the taxpayers, the Facilities Management Department, and the professional partners including Compass, SMMA, and W.T. Rich for their commitment to the project, calling it "an act of love and an act of optimism" for kids of the future.
The new Hunnewell School is slated to open in February 2024. Project updates are regularly posted on the Wellesley HHU website.
Hunnewell is one of two major construction projects for Wellesley; the Town also has plans to rebuild Hardy Elementary School, although that project is not scheduled to begin for at least another year.