Beautiful New Balance Field / Newell Stadium and O’Maley grounds #GloucesterMA public schools

Wish my phone captured the surreal beauty of the fishing boats floating past the field goal, heading to the cut. Prettiest stadium for spectators in Massachusetts.

beautiful Newell stadium Gloucester High School_20191023_©c ryanbefore ghs boys varsity soccer gam_20191023_New Balance Field Newell Stadium Gloucester MA ©c ryan

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Picturesque setting and buffer slope designed like natural  amphitheater for the track and field at O’Maley. The track needs work and the field needs filling/leveling of some troubling holes. To left out of field of view: ball fields and booster funded snack bar shed and restrooms (could be open – gross to see teams head to the trees straight from the bus)

Elementary school campuses are lovely, too. Snapshots of a few:

Gloucester Daily Times: New School Options presented to City Council July 9, 2019

State to See Nine Options for New School: Officials hoping to present officials with override in spring, front page story by Ray Lamont, Gloucester Daily Times July 8, 2019

Read the article here

” Dore & Whittier is to present the options — without a firm design or pricing — to the City Council at its meeting Tuesday, July 9.”

“Pope emphasized that, while the council does not have approval authority over a school project, the School Committee is looking for an endorsement of the project concept.”

Gloucester Daily Times notice for New school buildings presentation to city council_20190708_085042 (2)

 

Prior post June 20, 2019 here

School building committee votes to pursue 9 Dore & Whittier building options and timeline

On Thursday, June 20, 2019, the school building committee voted to pursue 9 school options at 3 sites recommended by Dore & Whittier (whittled down from 14 presented on June 13), and the timeline. The School Committee is meeting on the 26th to present this slate.

courtesy photos- “green” indicates the options pushing ahead

 

  • upcoming July 12, 2019 review costs / goal PDP submission to MSBA August 2019
  • upcoming July 9, 2019 presentation to city council (without costs)
  • upcoming June 26, 2019  presentation to full school committee (without costs)
  • Thursday June 20, 2019 architect presentation to building committee (this post)
  • Monday, June 17, 2019 public meeting at City Hall recap here
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019 architect presentation of 14 options at 3 sites to school building committe recap here  also helpful links

 

 

 

TONIGHT: vote to whittle new school options. Scenes and recap of new building plans presentation June 17

If you go-

Tonight’s meeting about East Gloucester/Veterans’ Memorial proposed elementary school building(s), will be held at the Gloucester Public Schools District Office Conference Room, 2 Blackburn Drive, Thursday June 20, 2019 5PM Find the agenda here 

Below are a few scenes from Gloucester’s school committee presentation by MSBA assigned designers, Dore & Whittier, and audience statements. The meeting was held at City Hall on June 17 and hosted by Ward 1 City Councilor Scott Memhard.The current status of proposed elementary school plans were reviewed. They discussed 14 options on 3 sites.

Audience members (approximately 125) were overwhelmingly opposed to the plans. People were vocal about green space, Mattos Field and memorial, women and sports, traffic, parking, transparency, consolidation, limited site options, narrow scope (what about the other schools), impact on each neighborhood, evaluation of West Parish, slow timeline, and future plans for any surplus property. Few in favor of consolidation were inclined with those proposed. One woman encouraged checking back in with the MSBA about completing multiple schools at once in lieu of consolidation and costs based on the firm’s belief that most of these options were ill suited.

Here is one statement read aloud reflecting concerns about green space and Mattos Field:

“Mattos field, East Gloucester school area, and Green Street all have the same thing in common: They are all open space and should be protected and preserved for future generations. 

Our Community Plan 2000 remind us over and over again the importance of our open spaces and the places we hold dear. The plan was “citizen-driven” and reached out to residents from all corners of our city. 

Since that plan, we are again reminded of our need and love for open space with our Open Space and Recreation Plan, a plan I was fortunate to be able to be a part of. This plan listed and inventoried all of our open spaces– from our beautiful beaches to our ball fields and parks, to our cemeteries and even our boat landings. Birds. Plants. All find a place in this plan. We talk about how we can protect these places and how we can improve them, but never did we talk about taking them away. 

Preserve, Maintain and Protect. These are the three words we should be using when it comes to our open spaces.  Because once it’s gone we can’t get it back. Thank you!”- Patti Amaral

Here is another statement pushing to reject all or nothing in favor of both/and:

“I’ve been to my share of School Committee meetings over the past several years and I’m learning more and more about what the future holds for the children of our city. There are three sites that the Building Committee has in mind for the “East Gloucester Elementary School” project. Two of those sites will take East Gloucester Elementary School out of East Gloucester.  One of those sites would eliminate the current Mattos Field and another would put the school up on Green Street, 500 yards from the old Fuller School.

The fate of East Gloucester Elementary needs your support.

I stood in front of our School Committee many years ago and asked, “Our schools are beginning to deteriorate. What are we going to do to maintain them? School Committee member, Ab Khambaty (president of the School Committee at the time) said, “Mary Ann, we do not need glorious buildings to educate children. We can teach them in a tent. What children need are teachers who have a strong desire to bring the best out in our children. We need parents who are involved with their PTO’s and staff who care.” I left that meeting very upset, because I was a young mother who wanted it all for my daughter and her fellow students, but as the years have passed I understand his message loud and clear. Our schools do not need brand new facades, grand entrances or hallways that have no educational purpose.

They do, however, need safe, clean and well maintained environments for both students and teachers (staff) alike to thrive in. It’s not the GRAND building that makes a school. It’s the PEOPLE within that structure that make a school GRAND. Can’t we provide safe, learning environments that meet the needs of today’s students, staff and neighborhoods (yes, neighborhoods) without disrupting our green spaces, without disrupting neighborhoods? Can’t we renovate our two schools for less than the cost of a new, consolidated school?

Green Street Playground and field remain green, East Gloucester Elementary remains, as well as it’s green space, Veterans’ and Mattos Field are saved and remain green. ALL dedicated green spaces that are used daily throughout the entire year, not just for school purposes, but for the purpose of enjoying the beauty of what they are and the benefits they each create. The benefits of being outside, socializing with friends, meeting new neighbors, enjoying wildlife. Are we willing to lose teachers and staff that invest in our city’s youth? If we lose a school we will lose more than just a building. We lose the most important parts of what children truly need, the people and their open fields. Take a look throughout our city and others and you will see magnificent renovations to so many of the brick structures, structures that have survived for hundreds of years, structures that have been renovated with the latest technology. We teach our children every day to recycle, repurpose and to save our earth. Let’s show them that it can be done. Can’t we provide clean, safe, learning environments while maintaining and protecting our city assets that residents of all neighborhoods and all ages love? Mary Ann Boucher,  advocate for kids, schools, green spaces and neighborhoods

The conditions pursued by the school committee are variable so it’s difficult to build or defend any consensus. In 2016, the Pines in East Gloucester was a front runner or placeholder. Opinions about consolidating multiple schools at Beeman or O’Maley were voiced but not fleshed out. In February of 2017, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), a state agency, moved the Gloucester school consolidation proposal further along in its funding process. In January 2019 at the school committee-city council-board of health joint meeting,  Chairman Pope mentioned exploratory conversations with Rockport about merging districts. Could the elementary and middle schools be situated on Rockport’s campus and O’Maley and GHS accomodate the middle and high school populations?   If so why would large school consolodiation buildings be underway? At the June 17th presentation, questions about other potential sites whether O’Maley, or any of the city’s school properties,  or land elsewhere, or merging with Rockport, went unanswered. Representatives from Dore & Whittier said this phase kicked off in December 2018 and was full spead ahead as of January; in truth, the process began years ago with Dore &Whittier. And new schools were a topic when my kids, now in high school, were in preschool (fantastic!) at the High School. Indeed, a generation of students has grown up and teachers retired since an “urgent” need was expressed. Conditions are urgent. Why is this process so costly and cumbersome? Why is constuction so expensive we can’t remedy in real time?

The school committee and new building sub-group welcome feedback and concerns

although they warn that in order for this process to stay on track for a new school ETA occupancy September 2023/24 they need to move forward with these options. Changes will increase cost.

See prior post with more slides of the presentation, mostly unchanged from the week before.

Stephanie Benenson HARBOR VOICES light show #GloucesterMA | immigration, conversation & acts of generosity manifest as public art

Stephanie Benenson, artist studio, discussing 2017 Harbor Lights 20171122_091510

Stephanie Benenson, artist studio, discussing Harbor Lights, GIF 1122091429
from a studio visit with Stephanie Benenson Nov 2017

You can join in Stephanie Benenson’s fascinating big vision, Harbor Voices, a public art and cultural piece that’s made from light, sound and community participation. Part of the project is a  large-scale and temporary LIVE light & sound installation which will happen on ten minute loops from 4-8pm on Friday December 8th, and Saturday December 9th, one of many featured events for the 2017 Middle Street Walk. Harbor Voices will be held inside the Kyrouz Auditorium in City Hall , 9 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, MA.

Come experience a sweeping ocean of sound, stories and light, drawn by the voices and acts of generosity of neighbors and friends.

Benenson, a Rockport native and North Shore based fine artist, received a prestigious and competitive RISD grant to create Harbor Voices. Benenson collected over 100 stories in eight languages of recent and ancestral immigration to Cape Ann. For the past year she led (and continues to lead) practical and creative storytelling sessions and workshops at area schools like Veteran’s Memorial and Gloucester High School,  as well as community organizations and centers such as Sandy Bay Historical Society. Students talked with Benenson about “their ancestors* and families bringing cultural heritage to Cape Ann.” She said that kids mentioned “family members that started businesses here (like Jalapenos, Sclafanis, and other cultural destinations on Cape Ann)…and how meangingful that was to them…and people that they had deep respect and admiration for…” They discussed “family recipes, music, food and how immigration historically has made American art and culture come alive.”  Mayor Romeo Theken was the first story collected. Other Cape Ann storytellers outside of the schools and non profit partners include: Jean Testaverde (Portuguese fishing ancestry), Ingrid Swan (Swedith quarrying ancestry), Heather Lovett (descendent of Roger Babson), Sal Zerilli (Awesome Gloucester and Rockport), Jan Bell, Buddy Woods, Susannah Natti (Finnish and descendent of Folly Cove designer), Rich Francis (GHS teacher), and Celestino Basille (GHS teacher).

Depending upon age and preference, stories were written, recorded, or drawn. All were mixed into materials and audio that will choreograph connections directly into the light installation, and an enlarging community. At first, Benenson thought the light might guide any audio. Instead voices continue to guide the light.

Every story and act of generosity is linked to the installation and transformed into light.

Blurring the lines between public art and social sculpture, LIVE happening and virtual action, Harbor Voices emblematically presents stories, shared connections and actions. Participants of all ages are encouraged to interact with the project www.harborvoices.com and its installation– to bathe so to speak in a community of vibrancy and waves of interconnectedness and support.  Benenson adds that from 4-6PM during the two days of this installation iteration, “children will be offered a small flashlight to engage with this artwork, allowing them a tangible moment to consider their part in this interconnected network of community and local history by creating their own beam of light.” Also, before the installation opens to the public, one hundred Gloucester High School students –including some who have already added into the piece– will come to City Hall to experience Harbor Voices.

Benenson’s promotion for Harbor Voices launched in September. Leveraging attention for this remarkably ambitious project is an essential component as more involvement means more impact. Straight away it fostered community and brought opportunities. For example, Benenson spoke about the project and shared audio of the stories with Rose Baker seniors, Gloucester Rotary and the Cape Ann Museum’s Red Cottage Society. Someone from Beverly has already underwrittten  support for a class at Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School. She spoke about the project with Joey as part of GMG podcast #253

As a third generation Cape Ann artist, Benenson is especially excited to “create art and conversations around our cultural heritage and our contributions to the vibrant mix of people that live on Cape Ann.”

See more pictures and read more about the artist

Continue reading “Stephanie Benenson HARBOR VOICES light show #GloucesterMA | immigration, conversation & acts of generosity manifest as public art”

Polls are open! Nice to see the gleaming back-to-school floors and precinct volunteers

We encourage perfect attendance from our students. We are positive role models for participation at the polls.

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Thank you city of Gloucester, schools, teachers, students, Backyard Growers and the dedicated precinct volunteers. Beyond voting, tangible benefits were the Veterans threshold gardens and lobby. Stop by your polling place before 8pm to vote! 

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