This past week not only marked a major milestone for two area technical high schools, but also commemorated victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.
“Those kids lost their chance to go to high school, so they are going to get a chance to come to ours,” said North Shore Tech Assistant Principal Don Gibson.
The steel frame for the new Essex Technical High School was completed with two white beams containing the names of more than 1,000 students who attend Essex Agricultural and Technical High and North Shore Technical High schools — plus the signatures of the construction workers working on the project. The beam signed by students at North Shore Tech will also contain an aluminum plaque commemorating the victims of the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
The $133 million project, a 300,000 square foot building being built on the Hathorne campus of Essex Aggie, will merge Essex Aggie and North Shore Tech into one. Essex Aggie, North Shore and the merged school district all include students from the Cape Ann communities of Gloucester, Essex, Rockport and Manchester. Gloucester also continues to operate its own vocational program at Gloucester High School.
On Wednesday, a construction crew delivered a white steel beam to the parking lot of North Shore Tech in Middleton for the school’s 600 or so students to sign.
A similar beam was placed in the parking lot of Berry Hall at Essex Aggie, adjacent to the construction site, for the 480 or so students of this school to sign.
“They were having a ball,” Essex Aggie Superintendent/Director Roger Bourgeois said of the students’ enthusiasm to sign the beam and become immortalized in the new school. “They were all very excited.”
The last two beams will be part of a topping off ceremony scheduled at the new school at 9 a.m. today. As part of the topping off tradition, an American flag and a Christmas tree will also grace the top of the building.