, Salem, MA

Local News

August 20, 2013

After 2 years of renovations, Saltonstall prepares to go 'home'

SALEM — “Settled” is not a word Saltonstall School Principal Julie Carter would use right now. But “homecoming” is, she said.

It took one week — and more than 11 moving trucks and three trailers full of boxes and supplies — for Saltonstall to relocate to its original school building on Lafayette Street this month.

Two years of renovations to the nearly 100-year-old building are almost finished. Students will return to school Sept. 4 after a two-year stay at the former St. James School on Federal Street while construction was underway.

“The intensity of this move is extreme,” Carter said. “... We’re glad to be back home, that’s the bottom line.”

A recent walk-through with Carter revealed brighter, lighter classrooms and hallways; redesigned and updated science and art rooms; new flooring and windows and a slate of other improvements — along with mountains of unpacked boxes and bubble-wrapped equipment.

Saltonstall’s last day of school was July 29. Staff “packed like crazy” for four days, Carter said. Moving crews made trip after trip from Federal to Lafayette streets through the first week of August.

As of last week, the gym was being used as a catch-all for extra items from the moving trucks. Cafeteria tables, filing cabinets, shelving and dozens of boxes were stacked wall-to-wall.

Teachers and school staff will spend the next two weeks unpacking and organizing classrooms, as well as redesigning safety procedures, student pickup and drop-off routines, recess schedules and other plans.

It’s a challenge, Carter said, but a happy one.

“Teachers are just really excited about how beautiful the building is,” she said. “... The dream that we have at Saltonstall, there’s just more space to make that dream come true.”

Saltonstall has about 360 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The move back to Lafayette Street will allow the school to bring in three new classes for learning disabled children, currently at the Carlton Elementary and Collins Middle schools.

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