Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting – September 15, 2012

Sturgis West Ribbon Cutting
September 15, 2012
Photograph Courtesy of Philip Warburg

 Studio G Architects interviews Sturgis students, parents and faculty members during the ribbon cutting celebration on September 15, 2012.
By Marion Weeks, Community Outreach Coordinator

Welcome to Sturgis West Grand Opening
Photo Courtesy of Edward Maroney
The Barnstable Patriot

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 Grand Opening Banner

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

Eric Hieser, Executive Director
Welcome to the Grand Opening of Sturgis West

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

Sturgis West Ribbon Cutting

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

Harpist Claire Ann Gilliland

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.

Class of 2002 Alumni
Chris Trapp, Dan Chaprut & Andrew Maker
Photo Courtesy: The Barnstable Enterprise

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.

Sturgis West Ribbon Cutting Brochures
Provided by Kathryn and John Basile
& Staff of The Register and Wicked Local

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 –

Owner’s Representative

Michael Moynihan, Sturgis Parent
& Owner’s Representative

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.

Sturgis West Ribbon Cutting

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.

Michael Moynihan & Tamar Warburg
Know about Effort

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

Steve Michener and Tamar Warburg
Studio G Architects

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’.

Tamar Warburg, Lead Architect
Studio G Architects

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

Sturgis West Ribbon Cutting
Photograph Courtesy of Philip Warburg

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.

Peter Steedman, Sturgis West Principal & Family

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.

Ray Sessler, President
Sturgis Board of Trustees

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.

Eric Hieser Receives Gift From
Sturgis West Class of 2014

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.

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An Amazing Start

By Peter Steedman, Sturgis West Principal

Sturgis West Convocation
August 28, 2012

What an amazing start we’ve had this year at Sturgis West!  It is hard to believe that less than three weeks ago, our faculty toured the new building for the first time.  Since that tour, many of us – including construction crews, Sturgis staff, students and parents – went through an emotional roller coaster while waiting to hear if Sturgis West would receive the occupancy permit necessary to open as planned on Wednesday, August 29.

During our final faculty orientation meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Eric Hieser burst through the door, gave a thumbs up sign and the faculty broke into cheers and applause. We didn’t have much time to relax, however, because in just a few hours, we would be welcoming new 9th and 10th grade students at Sturgis West Convocation.

Eric Hieser Addresses Sturgis West Community
Convocation – August 28, 2012

The spirit of West was palpable that evening at the Resort and Conference Center.  So many returning students attended Convocation that 400 chairs were not enough to handle the crowd that gathered.  As Mr. Hieser welcomed new parents and introduced them to Sturgis West faculty, it was overwhelming to learn about the impressive expertise of the teachers he has assembled to work at 105 West Main.  West faculty members come from the four corners of the earth. They have taught in such locales as India, Venezuela, Panama, Egypt, Indonesia, Australia and the Netherlands. Parents who attended Convocation that evening could sense their sons and daughters are in for a unique educational experience at Sturgis.

Opening Day
August 29, 2012

The following morning, we opened the doors of the new campus at 7:30 A.M.  I wish all of you could have seen the faces of our students and felt the excitement in the hallways as they explored new classroom spaces.  When each class gathered in the amphitheater for the first assemblies, they enjoyed the natural light pouring in through the windows and a skylight above their heads.

Eric Hieser Addresses Sturgis West Students
First Assembly – August 29, 2012

I reminded juniors that six years ago,

Mr. Hieser had the idea to expand Sturgis “IB for All” access for more students. His idea has now come to fruition.  In response, juniors broke into applause.  They knew, more than most, that they have been given a series of gifts: a new school, an academically rigorous curriculum, clubs, activities, sports and a remarkable faculty.  Always modest, Mr. Hieser bowed his head and raised his hand, acknowledging the students and their thanks, but not wishing to take credit for this singular accomplishment.  We all know, however, that the joy of last Wednesday would not been experienced were it not for his vision.

Let’s Move!
Camp Burgess September 11, 2012

Yesterday, the entire Sturgis West freshman class went to Camp Burgess in Sandwich for an extraordinary day of team building and trust activities.  Following Sturgis tradition, the day culminated in a ceremony at Aselton Memorial Park in Hyannis Harbor where students sign the Sturgis logbook and ring the ship’s bell to signify the beginning of their journey at Sturgis.  It is a very powerful rite of passage that we enjoy observing each year.

Sturgis West Class of 2016
Signing the Sturgis Logbook

Although all of us were excited to finally have Internet access yesterday, I believe that what we achieved without technology during our opening days at Sturgis West will be what we remember most. Be it the powerful connections made with our peers and teachers under a beautiful fall sky at Camp Burgess, or the simple tradition where we put pen to paper to sign the Sturgis logbook or the words spoken by Eric Hieser when he told the story of William Sturgis who first went to sea at fifteen – the age of most freshmen.  In the end, it is these traditions that signify the start of the Sturgis experience.

Please Join Our Celebration!

We hope you can join us on Saturday from 1:00 – 3:00 for the Sturgis West Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting.  This momentous occasion will provide an opportunity to thank and recognize those who have contributed so much to bring Eric Hieser’s dream of a second campus to fruition.  Students will be available to guide you through the new building.  We do hope you will join us.  It will be a remarkable event!

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Down to the Wire

By Peter Steedman, Sturgis West Principal

Will we have power, phones &
internet access by opening day?

It all came down to the wire today. Finally at 3:30 this afternoon, we received the necessary approvals to open Sturgis West tomorrow. We are truly excited for this year to begin and look forward to seeing the new halls of West filled with students.  In addition to excitement about the new building, we are also excited that our junior class of 100 students will have the opportunity to be the first class at Sturgis West to experience an International Baccalaureate “IB for All” education.


First Faculty Meeting of Sturgis East and West
August 22, 2012

Before I see you at the Sturgis West Convocation tonight, let me fill you in on recent news from West. Our first faculty professional development sessions took place last week.  Eric Hieser has hired outstanding new teachers who spent last year in such places as Ghana, Indonesia, China and Brazil.  Conversations during our meetings were rich with international perspectives.  I am confident the new faculty members will fit in beautifully with the staff at Sturgis West.  On Friday afternoon, faculty went on a tour of Sturgis West. As the new West teachers watched their colleagues walk through the building and hear them shriek with excitement, they knew that they were part of something very special.

Faculty View Amphitheater 8-24-12

Many teachers were overcome with emotion as they saw light pour in through the windows.  The classrooms seem enormous compared to our space last year.  A few tears were shed as teachers walked through the hallways and saw the open spaces, the library and the faculty work area.  The amphitheater is gorgeous and will be used as a gathering spot on the first day for class meetings.

A Room With a View

The patio is finished and soon grass will be planted on the Sturgis West Green which will serve as a space for students to gather, relax, play and study.  The West faculty was amazed to see the beautiful spaces created for the Visual Arts, Music and Theater.

Last Friday afternoon, we learned the building would be available on Saturday morning for a few hours if we wanted to start moving. Mr. Hieser asked me if West teachers might be willing to help get classrooms ready by moving furniture.  Although the forecast called for a perfect beach day, he was hoping some staff might give up an hour of their time to help get the new building ready.

Anna Botsford -Theater West, June Miles – English East and Abby Rhoads -English West

After long days of meetings and professional development workshops, I did not know what type of turnout we could expect on the last Saturday of summer.  Paul Marble, Sturgis East Principal, also asked East faculty if they might be interested in lending a helping hand.  When I arrived on Saturday, I was amazed to see 20 teachers from East and West willing to give up a few hours to help move tables, boxes and chairs into the new classrooms.  As the elevator was not working, there was some heavy lifting as teachers walked up and down stairs with classroom materials for three hours.

Eric Hieser
Executive Director
Moving Day 8-25-12

After last year, I can attest to the fact that people are brought together by overcoming adversity.  Watching East and West faculty lift heavy boxes up and down stairs in a building without air conditioning, I could see bonds of friendship beginning to form.  As Mr. Hieser always says to his faculty, the work at Sturgis is hard, but it is worth it.  Walking through the hallways and seeing classrooms full of desks, chairs, tables and whiteboards, it was evident that the work last Saturday morning was hard, but as we prepare to open the doors to 300 Sturgis West students, it is clear the effort was worth it.

I look forward to seeing you soon at Convocation!

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Final Stages of Completion

By Eric Hieser, Executive Director

Our summer holidays are coming to a close and I hope that you and your families have had an enjoyable break and well-deserved rest.  Several of us have been working throughout the summer but all of us were able to have some time away.

Jay Finbeiner and Crew at Sturgis East

Jay Finbeiner and his work crew have been painting and cleaning Sturgis East so that the building is in much better shape than it has been in the past.  We have new flooring in several rooms and have several more rooms scheduled for new flooring during the coming months.

Northwest Corner 8-20-12

While East has been going through a rehab, Sturgis West is down to the wire in the final stages of completion. Our general contractor, J.K. Scanlon, has told us that we should be able to start on time on August 29. They are working long days to have it ready for us on the first day of school.

Teacher Desks Arrive in Classrooms

400 student lockers and 35 teacher desks were assembled and installed last week. 300 student desks and 400 chairs were delivered last Thursday.  The painters and flooring installers are working on the final touches over the next couple of days.  All systems are go to open on time but in the case of construction projects, it is always wise to keep fingers and toes crossed!



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Sturgis West Pulls Up Stakes and Moves On

9th Grade at Hyannis Harbor

By Peter Steedman, Sturgis West Principal

After school finished, I was able to spend two weeks with my parents in Southern Maine.  We were blessed with tremendous weather and my kids were able to run on the beach, eat native corn at the family barbecue and ride their bikes for hours.  Having some down time allowed me the opportunity to reflect on everything the faculty and students accomplished this year at West.  Although they were faced with considerable obstacles, they came together in ways that were unimaginable at the start of school.  Students were provided a rigorous academic curriculum, but time was also allocated for a raucous Spirit Week.  Students spent hours working on their Internal Assessments, but they also joined sports teams in record numbers.  The last few months of school were spent in MCAS exams, but the STAGE production performed to standing-room only crowds and welcomed students to the theatre who had never attempted acting.  Most importantly, students and faculty never let the less-than-ideal structure of the facility stand in the way of teaching and learning.

Team Building

Camp Burgess

The friendships that developed last year were often built by overcoming adversity.  Next week, Sturgis West will open its doors at 105 West Main.  Before we leave the past behind, it is important to consider the experiences of the first students at Sturgis West.  During the last few days of school, we asked the students to reflect on the year and to think about what a new facility would mean for their Sturgis experience.  Reading their words, it is hard not to be emotional about leaving Main Street.  Although they are excited about the future, there is evidence that the old Artifacts furniture store brought them together and was an integral part in creating a Sturgis West identity.  As you read the comments from the students, recognize that it was a very special year.  I hope you look back fondly on your experience on Main Street but realize that the next chapter of the story of Sturgis West is about to begin.  I can’t wait to write it together!

To read the full text of student comments, see “Sturgis West Pulls Up Stakes and Moves On” in Sturgis Soundings Magazine

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Cape Cod Colors Enhance Sturgis West

By Tamar Warburg, Studio G Architect

Color selections for Sturgis West Campus were resolved with the help of a dedicated group of teachers, staff and design professionals.  We decided early on to bring Cape landscape colors to the outside walls: slate blue and soft green, the colors of sea and sky. The silver aluminum entries are like the boulders and piers that punctuate the seascape.  Interior colors are more vibrant, with Tidewater Blue in the lobby and sunny yellow in the classrooms,  but all the color choices are integrated with the sun/sea/sky/wooded landscapes of Cape Cod.  This approach extended to the warm earth tones in the bathrooms, including Sturgis Representative Mike Moynihan’s personal favorite, ‘Chivalry Copper’ for the boys.  And best of all is the skylight over the main stair hall at the center of the building, washing sunlight down past white walls to the warm, clear finish maple panels of the amphitheater and stair.

Crews are working in shifts 24 hours a day to complete construction and paint the interior. When the day shift finishes work, the evening shift arrives to lay the tile floors at night.  Everyone is working extremely hard to make it possible for Sturgis West to open on schedule.

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Paint Brings Color to Sturgis West

By Marion Weeks, Community Outreach Coordinator

Classrooms Come Alive with Color

Sturgis West construction continues on many fronts at once and steady progress can be seen throughout the building. Inspections of various systems periodically take place and are checked off. Plumbing was inspected and approved June 29. Electrical and sprinkler rough inspections will be completed by July 6.

Installation of Underlayment

Trucks are now arriving with materials that will provide finishing touches such as flooring, siding and ceramic tiles. Meanwhile, underlayment is currently being installed to subfloors; exterior siding work is progressing; construction of stairway to basement is complete; overall roof is complete and roof curbs are now being installed; lights are being mounted in suspended ceilings before installation of acoustical ceiling tiles next week. One of the most remarkable transitions is to see how classrooms come alive with color as crews paint room by room.

Mel Dishman and DeWayne Blackwell

A variety of crews work simultaneously on multiple projects: electrical, plumbing, sprinkler system, alarm system, painting, etc. Mel Dishman, Scanlon site supervisor, manages to appear cool and calm in the face of a constant flurry of activity as crews come and go. A key modular construction crew is finishing up and heading home to Liverpool, Pennsylvania. Before the crew left, I enjoyed having the opportunity to see Mel Dishman and DeWayne Blackwell, Manager of Field Operations for Excel Home Group, shake hands over a job well done with Sturgis West rising prominently behind them.

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Posted in Modular Construction, Off-Site Construction