Students return to $10.5M Center School in Greenfield

Franklin County

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Last year the students at the Center School spent the vast majority of their school year outside. Now, in the new building, it’s about incorporating nature wherever they can.

“As a school that’s been around since the 80’s we’ve done a lot of growing and changing and really we’re just ready for the next thing,” said Charlie Spencer, the head of the school.

The front of the new building, as of June 8, 2021 (The Chronicle)

At the end of the first day, parents came to pick up the roughly 130 students from pre-school to 8th grade. The $10.5 million space was built using the land as a reference point. The design was carried out by Banwell Architects from Lebanon, New Hampshire, following input from teachers, parents, and even students.

Kim Hake, the Student Support Coordinator, said it’s up to the students how the new space will be used.

“We noticed kids climbing up these stages and jumping off in the hallway,” she told 22News.
“So we’re noticing the ways they’re using the space and how can we put maybe little markers on the space like here’s where you jump, here’s where you climb.”

Charlie Spencer said this green space can offer sensory experiences that can help with learning, making students feel like this is their place to grow.

“Children really did have a rough go of it at the beginning of the pandemic especially,” she said. “And really what we want to make sure is that they feel like every day is a joyful learning experience that’s really dedicated to their growth and happiness.”

The campus is on 30 acres, so the students will have a lot to explore.

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