Throughout the rest of the building, Grossman got a look at what Conant called “our one and only” conference room; special education classes tucked away in small, makeshift classrooms; and a science lab inside a former wood shop whose equipment is stored in an old fallout shelter.
In the auditorium, a grand space modeled after Symphony Hall in Boston, Scanlon pointed out the water stains on the ceiling caused by leaks.
Grossman, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School who is considering a run for governor, chatted easily with teachers on a variety of subjects, from the Middle Ages to French literature. He praised the school staff on everything from their teaching methods to the cleanliness of the cafeteria floor.
“When you come into a school like this and see how everybody is trying to make things work, it’s impressive,” he said.
Scanlon told Grossman that the city needs state assistance for a new school because residents wouldn’t vote for a Proposition 21/2 tax hike. With a new high school and renovations to all of the elementary schools, the middle school would be the last of the city’s major school building projects, Scanlon said.
Scanlon said the city would like to open the new middle school in September 2017. The plan is for the school to include grades five through eight.
Grossman said he will work with the city through the process of applying for assistance, which includes first submitting the statement of interest, then conducting a feasibility study.
“I’m excited about this project’s potential,” Grossman told the group. “I’m excited to be a partner every step of the way through whatever decision you make with us.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.