On September 27, 2013, state and local officials joined students, teachers, government representatives and more than 30 family members of John R. Briggs to celebrate the dedication of the new school that bears his name. Kindergarten through fifth grade students sang happy birthday to Mr. Briggs who would have turned 126 just two days later.
Principal Andrea McGrath said, “This new school is amazing, and it is designed to allow the students to be successful socially, emotionally and academically, but it is important to remember that it is the students, parents and staff who are equally important in providing a high quality education.” She also thanked the residents of Ashburnham for funding the town’s share of the $30 million project, which was supported by a 58 percent reimbursement rate from the state.
The 520 student, 86,000 square-foot elementary school was designed by Lamoureux Pagano Associates to support Ashburnham’s elementary school population for the next 50 years. The building contains many innovative features, including specially-designed space for an early childhood and extended day program and a wood pellet boiler system that takes advantage of this locally available fuel source.
Because the new building was constructed behind the existing school (built in the 1960s), students were able to observe the construction of their new school.
Superintendent Ralph E. Hicks told the audience, “John R. Briggs has it all.” He also honored Michael Zapantis, the previous superintendent of schools who passed away in November 2012.
The OPM for the project was STV, Inc. and the Construction Manager was Consigli Construction Co., Inc.