SOMERVILLE, MASS. (WHDH) - Some teachers, parents and students in Somerville were scrambling on Monday after a piece of falling concrete in their school forced the school to close for the remainder of the school year.
The concrete fell from the ceiling of a stairwell in the Winter Hill Community Innovation School outside school operating hours while the school was unoccupied last week. School officials said the piece of concrete wasn’t structural. The school closed after the incident, though. And after an inspection, officials said they opted to move classes elsewhere out of an abundance of caution.
Students will be attending their classes beginning Thursday at several new locations.
In the meantime, teachers and parents shared their thoughts.
“I would much rather be teaching in my classroom right now instead of moving my stuff,” said teacher Jamie Keegan.
“They want to say this is an emergency. It is,” said teachers union representative Rami Bridge. “But it’s not a surprise and they could have been prepared and they weren’t.”
When classes resume later this week, most students will head to classrooms at Tufts University for the last week and a half of school. A small number of students will go to city-owned spaces at the Capuano Early Childhood Center and the Edgerly Education Center.
School officials said they’ve been repairing issues at Winter Hill for years while discussing plans to renovate or replace the building.
Speaking about the school, Somerville Director of Infrastructure Rich Raiche said “We were working under the assumption that any new problems in the building could be addressed without interruption of school operations.”
“That is clearly not now the case,” Raiche said.
City officials have said they will speed up the process of work at the Winter Hill School while aiming to make the school safe to reopen in the fall.
In the wake of recent events, however, some parents said they are not sure they will want to come back.
“Do I want them to go back into the brutalist death box?” said parent Dan Nee. “No, I don’t want them to go back into the brutalist death box.”
Until school resumes, school officials said students can be dropped off for child care at the Founders Memorial Skating Rink between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
School meals will also be available. Learn more via the Somerville Public Schools website here.
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