The Memorial school is a 67-year-old building. It has exceeded its useful life and is structurally and functionally obsolete. Memorial’s construction includes a timber roof deck and single-loaded corridors with wood-framed, single-glazed windows. It is inefficient, not ADA compliant, and doesn’t meet 21st century educational needs. The classrooms are too small, don’t provide the room for current teaching styles, and collaborative space is in short supply. Locker rooms and bathrooms have been converted to learning space. In short, it’s a failing building that is increasingly costing more money on maintenance that would be better spent on the educational program.
In its 2010 MSBA school survey, the MSBA rated schools across the Commonwealth on their “Building Condition.” The scale of this rating is from 1-4, with 1 being the best. Memorial was classified as “3,” in the bottom 16% of schools rated. Only 13 MA schools that were not already in MSBA’s grant program were rated lower.
When MERSD submitted Statements of Interest for both Memorial and Essex Elementary schools, Memorial shot to the top of the list and was accepted into the program right away, indicating that it was among the schools most in need of renovation or rebuild. This was consistent with the Habeeb report conclusions that Memorial’s needs were greater financially, and more urgent compared to Essex Elementary.