EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Rachel Connell will graduate from Easthampton High School June, so she’s happy to be able to spend her last few weeks in the brand new school.
“People got here early. There’s usually people running in late. I’m usually late too but everyone was running in early, we were all standing around, looking at everything, and going everywhere we can,” she smiled.
She says she doesn’t feel slighted that the town’s new high school opened just before she graduates. In fact, she’s happy she even gets to enjoy it.
So is sophomore Madison Smith.
“I can actually use it, and get to know it better, Smith said.
However, the new school means all students feel like freshmen again, finding their classrooms.
Junior Sam Garcia said he was able to be a little late to class because of it. “Yeah, it was pretty cool. I’m usually on time, but it’s a little different today,” he smiled.
The new facility boasts a new gym, complete with rock climbing wall, media center and an auditorium, which the old high school didn’t have. It’s also a Green building. It’s been a long time coming, in the works since 2001.
Principal Vito Perrone says this couldn’t be possible without the community’s support. “The committee for better schools about 4 years ago got active, got the community behind the project, overwhelmingly, the community supported it 3 to 1 and it took off today,” Perrone.
Sitting in the new school’s shadow, the old building won’t be forgotten. “It does have a lot of sentimental value, but it definitely pales in comparison to the quality of the new building,” Sophomore Shane Connor shared.
Principal Perrone says of all the schools in Easthampton, this is the first new building in over 40 years. He hopes that the middle school, which was built in the ’70s, will be the next to get a facelift.
Right now, there are about 470 students who go to Easthampton High. Principal Perrone says he’d like to see that number go up to 500.
This is the latest in a wave of new high schools recently popping up around the area, including Longmeadow High, and Springfield’s Putnam High.