Staff, students bid farewell to Minot Forest Elementary School
Students at Minot Forest Elementary exited the school for the last time on Tuesday, bidding farewell to the building which will be closed next year as the district consolidates.
Surrounded by teachers and staff who clapped and blew bubbles, kids left Minot for summer vacation on the last day of school. Principal Joan Seamans said some furniture and equipment had been packed up for the move to Decas Elementary and Wareham Middle School.
“Today is bittersweet,” said Seamans, who has worked at Minot for 12 years. “We’re not just losing the building, but our Minot family is being split up as some teachers and staff will be in separate buildings next year.”
Pre-school students will attend class in the Decas school, while students in grades three and four will attend classes in the middle school. Grade eight will be moved from the middle school to the high school.
The school is being closed as a cost savings measure and because officials said it’s in poor condition. The 50-year-old school is beset with structural problems and requires significant upgrades for security, electrical wiring and fire safety.
Currently, officials are working to get plans approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority for a new, combined elementary school where Minot is located. Plans call for completing a design in time for voters to consider approving a debt exclusion at the October 2018 Town Meeting. If approved, Wareham voters would have to OK funding the school during the state's Nov. 6 election as a ballot question. The debt exclusion would raise taxes on residents to pay for the project for the life of the debt.
At April Town Meeting in 2017, voters approved the borrowing of $1 million to fund a feasibility study. The feasibility study explored different options for revamping the school and is a requirement of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which will reimburse the town approximately $39 million for the project’s construction cost.