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School district to preserve 'Chaug's past

Date: 7/17/2012

By Chris Maza

WILBRAHAM — As the hour of the demolition of the old Minnechaug Regional High School approaches, Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD) Superintendent M. Martin O'Shea recently outlined in a memo to the public the district's plans for preserving pieces of the high school's past.

"In our excitement to move into our new facility, we know we have to respect the spirit and tradition of the original Minnechaug," he said.

O'Shea listed and expanded upon nine points of interest, addressing everything from equipment and furniture to trophies and awards to debris removal.

"Our intention has been to manage this work in socially, fiscally, legally and educationally responsible ways," he said.

In the interest of cost savings and recycling, the high school administrators have devised a plan through which any useable equipment would be transferred from the new building to the old building.

In addition, the district has allowed administrators from the district's other schools to take any supplies that have been deemed not useable in the new Minnechaug in order to bolster the materials available at all HWRSD schools. Mechanical and technology systems will also be removed with the intention of utilizing them in the district's other buildings.

"Through the construction and demolition contract, we retained our rights to system-level building components including communication, HVAC, technology and security systems," O'Shea said.

Any equipment and furniture not used by the district has been offered to the towns of Wilbraham and Hampden.

"Our Facilities Director Ed Cenedella has connected with both towns and has overseen the delivery of furniture that will be put to use by our towns," O'Shea said.

Furniture, equipment and supplies "with real or sentimental value" that have no use to the towns or the district will be sold at auction on July 21 in the Green Gym at the old Minnechaug at 11 a.m. with a preview at 10 a.m.

Any items deemed to have no value, real or sentimental will be considered for charitable giving to ensure that items that would normally be thrown out will go to help those in need.

He also stated that the district is in the midst of creating a complete photographic catalogue of all of the awards, plaques and trophies in the school and that a plan is in the works on how to properly display those in the new building.

"Minnechaug has garnered innumerable academic, extra-curricular and athletic awards over the last 50 years," O'Shea said. "We know that these represent the spirit and history of Minnechaug and need to be proudly exhibited. There may be some culling of the collection and it make take some time to reinstall the awards, but the past will be proudly preserved in the halls of the new Minnechaug."

In the interest of environmental safety, the district has been working with its contractor to ensure that demolition materials are recycled properly, as the contract with the Massachusetts School Building Authority states that 90 percent of materials must be recycled.