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Ground officially broken on Lynch School project

School Committee member Chris Nixon, left, School Committee Chair Tom Hopcroft, Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. Mike Day, Massachusetts School Building Authority CEO James McDonald, Select Board member Mike Bettencourt, School Committee member Shamus Brady, and Select Board member Michelle Prior break ground on the new Lynch Elementary School on March 22. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/ALISON SWALLOW

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Educators, parents and students joined members of Winchester’s boards, committees and town staff to commemorate the ground breaking for the new Lynch elementary school on a chilly Friday afternoon.

Dignitaries and speakers included Superintendent Dr. Frank Hackett, School Committee Chair Tom Hopcroft, member Chris Nixon, Town Manager Beth Rudolph, Educational Facilities Planning & Building Committee (EFPBC) Chair Jay Nardone, Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. Michael Day, and Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) CEO James McDonald.

Lynch School Head Custodian Dan Medwar, left, Sue Batson, Principal Chrissy Capodanno, Assistant Principal Anna Nolte, Leanne Guarino and Molly Malinowski at the school's groundbreaking ceremony on March 22. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/ALISON SWALLOW

Nixon, who serves on both the School Committee and the EFPBC, thanked the voters of Winchester for “tak[ing] the long view and supporting investments in educational capital projects that will sustain us for generations to come,” noting that support for the school replacement projects has steadily increased in recent years. 

“In January of 2011, 59% of Winchester voters said yes to a new Vinson-Owen; in December of 2013, 68%vof voters said yes to a renovated and expanded Winchester High School; and in January of 2023, 80% of voters enthusiastically said yes to a new Lynch,” Nixon said. “This trend underscores the appreciation and the value we place on our partnerships with the MSBA and has us most optimistic for our next chapter, a new Muraco school by 2030.”

‘And there will be generations of new families and educators that make new memories here and utilize the spaces to learn and grow.’ — Town Manager Beth Rudolph

He added that “over the last 14 years, the MSBA’s partnership and financial support has yielded nearly $75 million in reimbursement for the Vinson-Owen, the Winchester High School, and now here, the new Lynch, totaling nearly 470,000 square feet of space for our teachers and staff to do their great work, and for our students to learn and to thrive.”

Nixon attributes this to Winchester’s “thoughtful and ‘planful’ approach” to managing its school buildings through its Facilities Master Plan, which is conducted every 10 years with updated enrollment information and assessments of all school buildings. He concluded by thanking past and present members of the Select Board, School Committee, Finance Committee and EFPBC for working to make these projects happen.

Hopcroft highlighted how an updated Lynch will support the diverse needs of its student population, as well as the town’s commitment to sustainability. 

“The cornerstone of effective learning lies in secure, accessible, comfortable and sustainable learning environments. If a student faces barriers to entering the building, experiences discomfort due to temperature, or feels unsafe, their ability to learn is compromised,” said Hopcroft. “With over 40 languages spoken, Lynch elementary is a showcase for diversity and a welcoming and inclusive community. The meticulous planning and dedication of countless residents and experts ensures that this facility will support the diverse needs of every student in realizing their full potential academically, personally and athletically.

“Moreover, the new Lynch sets a pioneering benchmark as Winchester’s inaugural all-electric net-zero building,” he added. “Harnessing solar energy from roof and parking canopy panels, it’s designed to generate as much power as it consumes, resulting in cost savings for our town, promoting a healthier learning environment for our students and contributing towards the goals laid out in our town’s climate action plan.”

Winchester residents as well as elected, town and school officials watch as ground is broken on the Lynch School on March 22. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/ALISON SWALLOW

Rudolph recalled sending her son, who is now a high school junior, to kindergarten at Lynch, where assistant principal John Dupuis already knew every kindergartener’s name on the second day of school. 

“That memory strikes at the heart of our school community, which is about so much more than just the buildings we occupy,” Rudolph said. “And there will be generations of new families and educators that make new memories here and utilize the spaces to learn and grow.”

Noting Winchester’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency with this building project, she added that “the planning, design, and construction of a project like this requires dedication and hard work of so many community volunteers, school and municipal staff members.” 

Rudolph also thanked town residents, Lynch neighbors “and especially the town’s project manager Meg White, who has been the reason that we’ve been able to manage 20 years of capital projects in Winchester.”

Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Mike Day at the Lynch School groundbreaking. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/ALISON SWALLOW

Lewis noted what a “remarkable achievement” it is to have gotten the kind of support the town has had from the MSBA in rebuilding our schools.

“Being accepted into the MSBA program for each of those projects is not a given,” Lewis said. “It’s a highly competitive program. The MSBA gets dozens and dozens and dozens of statements of interest every year from communities all across the commonwealth that need to renovate and upgrade their schools. The MSBA has the confidence that the community would stand behind us and time after time, thanks to Winchester voters and taxpayers, we’ve stepped up to make this happen.”

Speaking last, Nardone opened with, “I’d rather be looking at a set of drawings than writing a speech,” then went on to express his appreciation for his fellow EFPBC members. 

Town Moderator Heather von Mering with daughter Grace at the Lynch School groundbreaking ceremony. The family is a member of the school's community. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/ALISON SWALLOW

“The biggest shout out is to the members of the EFPBC, past and present, [who’ve] been involved with this for many years, many schools, especially the Lynch... It just took so much to get through, with the pandemic going on, all being done by zoom.... and we got to this point,” Nardone said. “We got the solar thrown in after a lot of work. It’s in, it’s going to be a great school, and let’s just get going! Thank you very much.”

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