The Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School celebrated the addition of four newly-built classrooms at a potluck ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday evening in West Tisbury.
Board president Laura Sargent Hall used hedge clippers to slash the blue ribbon, and school girls collected the gold bows for souvenirs, after some singing and bagpipe music greeted the latest extension to the post-and-beam school that began 14 years ago with nothing but the main hallway connecting some classroom trailers.
Unlike other public schools, Massachusetts charter schools receive no state money for buildings. With fundraising and loans, however, the Island charter school has been able to expand its Bruce MacNelly building little by little every few years. The latest $600,000 addition provides two classrooms for combined first and second grade students and two classrooms for third and fourth grade students, plus two restrooms, an art studio and office space for literacy and administration.
“It’s all about the people,” school director Bob Moore said at the ceremony. “But let me tell you, this new addition has made those people very happy.”
The school has been reconfigured by the new rooms, with a sweep of the old space now devoted to high school students, who are attending the charter school at record levels. The school library now has a room, or rather a media center, of its own, though its collections are still on shelves lining the hallways. The 3,500-square foot addition also has allowed for the upper and lower school art teachers, who previously had to bring “art on a cart” materials into each classroom for a lesson, to have permanent space for teaching and storage. The upper school art room will make use of a new kiln, and an imposing table salvaged from the West Tisbury town hall, its drawers already labeled with student names.
In June every teacher’s classroom had to be packed up, and Mr. Moore said weeks of day and night work preceded the opening of the school year. It was worth it, he said, for the wonderful addition that afforded the school new space and freedom.
“The workers and students in this building thank you very much,” he said to all attending and all who contributed to the capital appeal.