Four months ago, Sturgis West might have seemed like a figment of our imagination because the only thing visible at 105 West Main Street was basically a hole in the ground. When you see the building up and running today with 300+ students attending classes, it is clear that a great deal has transpired during the last 120 days.
Sturgis West: Breaking New Ground was launched on May 15, 2012 to document the construction process. Looking back to the first post, “A Trip to Visit Sturgis West in Pennsylvania,” I am reminded of the storm of activity that took place on many fronts over the summer to make this figment of our imagination take shape and be ready to open on time and on budget. Therefore, it only seems fitting that just before the ribbon cutting began at 1:00 last Saturday, a storm front passed through Hyannis causing everyone to seek shelter indoors. The Sturgis Storm of September 15, 2012 will be remembered for giving the crowd of students, faculty, parents, alumni, sponsors, architects, contractors and community leaders an opportunity to take shelter in a beautiful amphitheater and experience first-hand how form follows function in the design of Sturgis West by providing gathering places that support and enhance our small school culture.
The crowd continued to grow around the amphitheater and down the hall as the ribbon cutting ceremony began. It was rewarding to experience the good will and excitement of our extended Sturgis family on this important day in the history of Sturgis Charter Public School. Before cutting the ribbon, several speakers thanked those who first envisioned Sturgis West and those who were instrumental in the construction process. The full text of the ribbon-cutting speeches is provided below.
Eric Hieser, Executive Director
Welcome Sturgis Community: current & former trustees, parents, students, alumni and faculty. Welcome community leaders such as State Representative Brian Mannal and Barnstable Assistant Town Manager Mark Ells. Barnstable Town Manager Tom Lynch could not be present today but I would like to acknowledge his support during the construction of Sturgis West. Welcome to our neighbors and all the local businesses that support our efforts at Sturgis. I would also like to welcome visiting educators from several Massachusetts Charter Schools.
Challenge and Opportunity
Back in 2008-2009, our school was facing a real challenge with very long waiting lists of students and their parents who had great interest in attending Sturgis. We could have decided that these students and parents were just unfortunate in not winning the lottery. But sometimes challenges reveal unique opportunities. We created a vision of replicating our successful program at a second campus so that we could offer double the number of students a chance for the Sturgis International Baccalaureate for All experience. So—here you have it—Sturgis West—a second “IB for All” opportunity for the students and parents of Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts.
Honoring Our Past
I would like to take a moment to honor our past. There have been many individuals and groups who were instrumental in the creation of Sturgis Charter Public School. First, there were the pioneers like Harvey Auerbach, Pam Olson and many others who dreamed a furniture store on Main Street in Hyannis could be transformed into a free public charter school that accepts students by lottery – not based on talent, grades, test scores, or financial ability – and offers them a world-class education. Harvey and the other parents who worked together to create the school decided to name it for William Sturgis (1782-1863) whose years of international experience, public service and belief in social responsibility inspired them and helped guide them in choosing our curriculum and developing the concept for Sturgis “IB for All” programs.
I would like to recognize the Sturgis alumni and parents who were brave enough to take the risk of enrolling at Sturgis in 1998. We are very pleased to welcome several alumni from Sturgis’ first graduating class – the Class of 2002 – including Andrew Maker, Erin McEvoy, Dan Chaprut, Chris Trapp, Lee Ann Hennessey, and our very own Sturgis West theater teacher, Anna Botsford.
Moving on to the Present
Does their risk-taking ring a bell with any of our current students and families? It may seem as though history does indeed repeat itself. We thank the Sturgis West parents and students who were brave enough to help us start a new school last year in another furniture store on Main Street; who believed in the vision of a new campus enough to take the risk of signing on even before the ground had been broken for Sturgis West.
We thank all Sturgis Sponsors: the individuals and businesses that have made significant contributions to Sturgis over the years. Logos of business sponsors are displayed on our Grand Opening banner. Individuals and businesses are listed on the Sturgis Sponsors plaque inside. By the way, it is never too late to become a Sturgis Sponsor! Information is available at the Reception Desk.
I also want to thank some of the people who, through their hard work and determination, made this campus a reality: Sturgis Director of Finance, Jim Albrecht; Michael Moynihan who donated his time to serve as Owner’s Representative; Tamar Warburg, Lead Architect and her associates at Studio G Architects; Craig Gabri, Tom Shevory, Mel Dishman and the team from General Contractor J.K. Scanlan; and the Sturgis maintenance crew led by Jay Finbeiner.
In addition, we thank Kathryn and John Basile and their entire staff at The Register and Wicked Local for the wonderful brochure they produced in celebration of our Grand Opening today. The brochure is provided free of charge to Sturgis. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Basiles and all the businesses whose advertisements made the publication possible.
Michael Moynihan –
Thank you for the chance to speak at the commissioning of Sturgis West. My wife Dee and I first became acquainted with Sturgis in 2002 when we were seeking a school that would better challenge our daughter. Since then, we have graduated two girls from Sturgis who (due to an excellent education at Sturgis) went to colleges of their choosing with full scholarships. My 401k thanks you for that.
My role for the new building was to oversee the project to help facilitate decisions that would keep the project on time and on budget; that task was made doable because of the dedication and talent of the many business professionals being honored here today. The results of their efforts are here before you at 105 West Main St. A beautiful, functioning school sits where just over 4 months ago nothing more existed than a hole in the ground.
That is an amazing accomplishment and my congratulations go to all involved.
The ribbon cutting has dual meanings:
1) The completion of a building project that transformed this site into a facility better than any furniture store I have ever been to.
2) More importantly, it is the commissioning of a vessel that will give many more students the opportunity to experience what Sturgis offers:
a) A culture where all feel welcome and able to be themselves,
b) An opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and bigger than a new building
c) A feeling among students and faculty of a group bonded together and committed to the success of everyone.
d) A learning environment that supports, promotes and accomplishes exceptional academic achievement.
As we celebrate this achievement and honor those professionals who made this possible, I want to close my few remarks by speaking directly to the crew that will be responsible for navigating this new ship through life’s journey of learning:
- Teachers of Sturgis West, as you view the success of your predecessors, may you embrace the vision of Sturgis, commit to a spirit of excellence and work harder than your peers if necessary. It will be you who sets the course for success for these students.
- Students of Sturgis West, choose to believe you can do what is asked as many before you have. YES, if may be difficult to raise those sails but the wind they catch will carry you far and the rewards are worth it.
- Parents of Sturgis West, whether it was you or your child who chose this ship does not change the fact that it is a more challenging journey. Your participation and support cannot be understated. I believe the effort you put in is worth it and will yield a much richer experience as well as greater opportunities for all. My advice to you is ROW, ROW, ROW!
In closing, thank you all for allowing me to serve on this ship and welcome aboard
Tamar Warburg, Studio G Lead Architect
For all of us on your Studio G design team— Steve Michener, Gail Sullivan and Gabriela Gayoso Shelburne– this project is amazing.
We really broke new ground: we believe this is the largest school in New England built with modular construction— shipped on 96 trailers from a Pennsylvania factory over the Bourne Bridge and here to Hyannis.
As Craig Gabri of JK Scanlan said when he stood at this spot in the amphitheater, ‘I can’t believe this is a modular building’.
As a green architect, I was thrilled with modular construction as Green Building in many ways:
- The factory construction is a model of efficiency—there is almost no waste of materials with every scrap reused
- The quality of construction under controlled conditions is very high—modules are built under the shelter of an airplane hangar. Drywall and insulation are protected from rain or moisture
- By building on tracks, the construction access to all part of the building for firestopping and insulation are unbelievably efficient
- We were able to specify a high performance building envelope—insulation of mineral fiber mixed with sand (perfect for the Cape landscape), with efficient lighting, daylight harvesting and mechanical systems.
Like Sturgis educators, we focused our creative energy on the essentials.
This summer in London, people came from all over to pull off an inspiring Olympic event. This summer right here in Hyannis, do you realize how many hundreds of people worked day and night to finish this project on time?
Personally, it has been a joy to work with an amazing team—Sturgis teachers and staff, Town of Barnstable officials, Studio G team, engineers, and dedicated contractors who worked day and night, Sturgis staff, parents and students who helped the school move in to this new home.
It has been an honor and a pleasure to work together with you!
Peter Steedman, Sturgis West Principal
Welcome. On behalf of Sturgis West teachers and students, I would like to welcome you to this event and to thank you for your support.
As our charter asks us to include themes of maritime heritage, I thought it appropriate to include a title that may not be familiar to you: plank owner. A plank owner is a name given to the first crew to sail a ship on her maiden voyage. The term implies that the crew was present when the ship was being built and therefore had first dibs to the ‘ownership’ of one of the planks on that main deck. This year, the 9th, 10th and 11th grade students, along with their teachers are plank owners of Sturgis West.
And how did we come to acquire such a unique title? Well, it took the vision of Eric Hieser, the support of our Board of Directors and endless conversations with potential students and their parents. I will never forget in March of 2011, we had a meeting in the Music room at Sturgis East for those parents and students who were accepted at West but were still full of questions. Many of those parents from that night are here today. Mr. and Mrs. Perkins, Mrs. Higgins-Correiro and Mrs. Carr. I remember Mrs. Carr asking some really tough questions. Legitimate questions, but there were some questions we didn’t have answers to.
Parents asked – would there be a Key Club, a Soccer Team, a drama program, a jazz band, an academic program the caliber of Sturgis East. Would the building be ready?
That night, I was presenting with a junior from Sturgis East named Zach Fayne. Zach was there selling an idea that would greatly impact his life. He knew that when West went up, it would take away some of his favorite teachers at East like John Newcombe and Jenn Kirk. But there he was, getting peppered with questions about a school that was just an idea on a piece of paper.
Finally, someone asked Zach specifically, “How do you know this will work?” Zach answered, “Because Mr. Hieser is involved, and I trust Mr. Hieser completely.”
Now, when I was a junior in high school, I don’t think I even knew the name of my Superintendent and I certainly didn’t use words like “trust” when I talked about him! But Zach was absolutely correct. Because Eric Hieser was involved, everything was going to work out.
Today, on behalf of the students and staff at Sturgis West, we would like to present Mr. Hieser with a gift. It is a photograph of the first meeting he had with the Plank Owners, the Class of 2014, in the new building. Three juniors included in the photograph, Jacob Nelson, Cole Silva and Eva Fahey will present this gift. Thank you Mr. Hieser for your vision and for helping us answer the questions.