HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Demolition of a Hampden County middle school has begun making way for a brand new facility.

The William R. Peck Middle School in Holyoke is being replaced with a modern space to accommodate 550-students. Demolition started this Tuesday.

Mayor Joshua A Garica and Superintendent Anthony Soto participated in the first steps of demolition work at the middle school. Members of the School Building Committee, City of Holyoke and Holyoke Public Schools employees, and contractors also attended the meeting.

The $85.5 million project was officially approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) back in June. In June, the school was vacated.

“This community has worked together for years to bring a new middle school building to Holyoke. Our students deserve access to top-quality educational facilities that create the physical environment conducive to exploration, joy, and belonging,” said Mayor Garcia.

“I am deeply appreciative of the Holyoke community for coming together to support a new middle school building for our students and their families. It is a visible demonstration of the community’s commitment to a bright future for all our students and for all of Holyoke,” Superintendent Soto said.

The abatement, demolition, and site-leveling work is being done by American Environmental Inc, a Holyoke company with the lowest of five bids. This phase of the work is expected to be completed by December.

The City of Holyoke submitted the 60% Construction Document to the MSBA in late August with the help of Mount Vernon Group Architects and Anser Advisory. It’s scheduled to go to bid in late November.

Holyoke Public Schools has taken steps to honor the memories and artwork of the existing Peck building, which has served the community for almost 50 years. In 2010, two murals were painted at the school’s entrance to symbolize its history. 

Because the murals can’t be preserved physically, they’ve been documented. 

The next steps for the rest of this school year are:

● November 2023: Advertise for construction bids in two stages: Filed Sub-Bids  followed by General Contractor bids

● December 2023: Complete demolition of existing Peck School

● December 2023: Complete construction documents and submit to MSBA

● Early 2024: Open bids, select lowest qualified bidder

● February 2024: Begin construction

Approximately $40 million of the $85.5 million total cost of demolishing Peck and building a new middle school will be paid by Holyoke. The MSBA will reimburse about $46 million.

It’s part of Holyoke’s effort to improve learning opportunities and reimagine middle school. This new middle school will replace the inefficient Peck Middle School that no longer meets the needs of a modern education system.

The new, two-story facility will include an interior courtyard, natural daylight in all classrooms and a flexible, multi-use space combining a cafeteria and auditorium.

Local News

Kayleigh Thomas is a digital reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kayleigh on X @kayleighcthomas and view her bio to see more of her work.