By Liz Premo
Atlantic News, November 11, 1999
READY, SET, SNIP! -- Matthew Casassa (left) and April Cardenas prepare to cut the
ribbon at Saturday's dedication ceremony held in the new Centre School Addition.
[Liz Premo photo]
HAMPTON — Centre School's new 22,000 sq. ft. addition was officially dedicated during a well-attended ceremony held last Saturday morning in one of the spacious first grade classrooms on the structure's ground level floor.
The special event, featuring comments by SAU21 staff and school board members, also included a seven-member Centre School student delegation from grades K-2 performing a ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiling a plaque officially announcing the dedication.
The morning's agenda began with comments from Superintendent of Schools Jack Bourgoin, who introduced numerous guests present for the occasion, including school board members Irene McCain, Carol Hollingworth, Chris Singleton (who is also a member of the building committee), and School Board Chairman John Woodburn; Town Manager James Barrington, Hampton Board of Selectman Chairman Fred Rice, and Selectman Brian Warburton; and members of the budget committee (Jim Tierney, Tom Higgins, Dick Hansen, Deborah Jackson, and Charlene Hurst).
Prior to calling Woodburn up to the podium to present opening remarks, Bourgoin pointed out how the community was celebrating the construction of one of the newest school buildings in New Hampshire on the site of where the oldest and first public school in the state first stood. With education in the State of New Hampshire the topic, John Woodburn, upon taking his place behind the podium, pointed out that "We have one of the best education systems in the state, if not in the country," and also commented that, in view of the current education funding crisis caused by the Claremont decision, the community "is darn lucky" to have such a fine new facility which will be utilized in the education of Hampton's children.
Woodburn had Hampton Schools Facility Manager Al Jackson (who also served as clerk-of-the-works for both the Centre and Marston School additions) introduce representatives from the architect design and construction firms who were instrumental in creating the new addition and keeping the project "on time and under budget." Fred Matuszewski of CMK Architect Professional Association in Manchester, and Seabrook-based Barletta Engineering North crew members Kirk Huehls (project manager) and Bill Paine Sr. (site superintendent) received a round of handshakes and congratulatory applause for the important part in the planning and construction of the addition.
After being introduced by Bourgoin, school board and building committee member Chris Singleton then thanked Hampton voters for their "insight and trust," saying the occasion of the dedication of the new building was "a gratifying and proud moment," and he took the time to pay tribute "as a team of people who work very, very hard to get things done." Singleton pointed out how the addition would help to improve both working conditions for the staff and the education of the school's students, and he went on to introduce volunteers from the publicity committee — which included teachers, parents, and other members of the community -- for their part in bringing the addition project to fruition.
Taking the podium once again, Superintendent Bourgoin asked staff members to stand and be recognized, including Centre School Principal Nancy Andrews, Marston School Principal David O'Connor, Hampton Academy Junior High School Principal Jan Yost, and Assistant Superintendent (for business and planning operations) Fred Engelbach. Bourgoin then invited Andrews to offer her comments, and she did so, proclaiming that she is "proud to work in this community."
Andrews went on to explain how seven students were chosen randomly to represent the 500 students who attend Centre School. The students selected to take an active part at the dedication ceremony were Kindergartners Kimberly Newcomb and Matthew Casassa; first graders April Cardenas, Chris Chan and David Sheehy; and second graders Victoria Ness and Andrew Gosselin. Students were given an opportunity to offer their comments on the addition, and Chris Chan obliged by saying, "I like my classroom because it's big," while Victoria Ness affirmed "I like Centre School. I like my teachers and my principal, and my whole class."
After being presented brightly wrapped pencil boxes by School Board Chairman John Woodburn, the student representatives and all those who were present ventured out into the hallway where a ribbon had been strung across the corridor. Student April Cardenas and Matthew Casassa were each given a pair of scissors, and at the precise moment they both cut the ribbon to the sound of appreciative applause, while their five fellow Centre School students prepared to unveil the official dedication wall plaque.
Once the unveiling took place, guests were invited to tour the new facility And then take time to enjoy refreshments in the newly renovated school cafeteria before viewing the other renovations made in the original building.
This latest dedication of a new school addition affirms Hampton's commitment to the education of its children, and will prove its value to the Seacoast community and beyond in its capacity as an important educational facility.