The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Driscoll cuts the ribbon and moves into newly renovated building

Town of Brookline Select Board member Miriam Aschkenasy cuts the ribbon, officially opening the newly renovated Michael Driscoll School.

After two years of construction noise and limited outdoor space, students were finally able to cross from their run-down brick building to a new, bright and shiny building with “Driscoll” written front and center.

Michael Driscoll School students and staff began to use the new building on Monday, Oct. 30, after it was cleared for student occupancy on Friday, Oct. 27.

Principal David Youkilis said many parents and teachers helped with the move by clearing out the old classrooms. Youkilis said there has been a great amount of positive feedback about the new space.

“The thing I hear the most is how bright it is. People like the big windows and how much sunlight comes through,” Youkilis said. “Teachers like having new spaces where they can actually open their doors and talk to the other teachers.”

Math teacher Lisa Soltani said she gets to talk to different people than she’s used to because the middle school classes are now located in the same wing.

“It’s nice to have all of us on the same floor. Those of us who teach the same students are all together now, whereas before, the science classes were far away and on a different floor,” Soltani said. “Within each teaching team, it has helped to be all on the same floor.”

Youkilis said that along with more space for teachers, the students have more room to go to lockers and walk around the halls, as the middle school now has its own wing. He said they have been working on bringing the school together as a whole since the space is much bigger.

“The old building had a different feel, and this building has four stories. But we have to continue to do a lot of the same traditions that we had before,” Youkilis said. “We need these events to bring us together as a whole school. I think that’s something that we have to work on because it’s easy to feel isolated in a big building.”

Eighth-grader Silvia Donovan said she will miss all of her memories from the old building, but she is hopeful that the new space will offer new experiences to future students.

“The renovation impacted the community in a really positive way because it gives kids a nice, new place to learn with nicer materials,” Donovan said.

Soltani said this building shows the students they are valued, and she enjoys its unique asymmetries.

“I really like the space, and I don’t think it’s necessarily better for teaching, but it’s better for students to be in a space where they feel like they are important,” Soltani said. “I feel like that is what this building tells kids.”

Youkilis appreciates how open it is but said they’ve had very little outdoor space for recess throughout the project. He said the soon-to-come turf field is going to be very useful.

“Once we get through this year, I cannot wait for us to have that brand-new field,” Youkilis said. “We’re going to have a brand new playground, basketball court and garden, and it’s going to be spread out so we can have real recess out there. We can also have some classes out there. That’s going to be very exciting.”

According to Soltani, people treat the building with more respect and pride. They want to maintain the school so it looks practically the same in 100 years.

“I know that people value education in Brookline. But that is not conveyed every time you come to school because you’re working in this substandard environment,” Soltani said. “In your classroom, it’s pretty in here now. I feel like people feel good about the space.”

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