"It's a great day for the town of Belmont," said Mark Haley, with the sounds of children enjoying the warm Sunday at the home of the Wellington Elementary School community.
Sept. 25 was the official reopening of the Wellington, the new $40 million school in which sunlight and the use of light was built into the fabric of the environmentally sound building.
Pioneering, imaginative, bold and innovative, the 88,000 square foot building's design is being called groundbreaking and will likely be in the blueprints of new schools said state officials: large windows to maximize the use of natural light, geo-thermal wells to reduce heating and cooling costs, flat roofs for the installation of solar panels and a diffused air system that removes moisture and make spaces feel cooler.
Throughout the day, students were bringing parents to their classrooms, teachers telling visitors about their classrooms and town officials providing building tours.
At the reopening ceremony held outside at the playground entry, Haley, who is co-chairman of the Wellington School Building Committee, said when deciding whom to thank for this day, he decided that "the biggest group we want to thank is the town and the community."
"[The people] have supported education in Belmont for years" through Town Meeting representatives voting to fund the school and the town's residents who voted to pass a debt exclusion to raise $30 million to build the school.
"You, the people, are the people we have to thank," he said.
Superintendent Thomas Kingston noted that it took 13 years from the time the school was a gleam in the eye of many people including former Superintendent Peter Holland – who came to the ceremony – which is equivalent of how long it takes for a student to passage through the school system from kindergarten to high school graduation.
Steve Grossman, the state's treasurer who oversees the Massachusetts School Building Authority which paid 40 percent of the cost of the building from the one penny it receives from the state sales tax, noted that "you all played a role in this project" by just being a consumer.
"This is what we can do as a community when we come together," said Selectman Mark Paolillo.
"Let's remember this day and the wonderful feeling and work together and address the measures we need to together," said Paolillo.
It was architect Jonathan Levy who expressed his gratitude to the town for accepting his innovative ideas with open arms.
"I've been deeply moved in the spirit of your community and the building that you created is a measure of the community and spirit of the town," said Levy.