Wellesley High School students will have an extra day of February vacation and then return for a quick assembly in their old gymnasium before heading next door and walking together into the new school.
The just completed $116 million Wellesley High School is set to open Tuesday, Feb. 28, six months ahead of schedule and under budget.
And with official dedications and community celebrations scheduled for May, the first day will be all about the students.
“The focus of the opening day will definitely be the students,” said Selectman Katherine L. Babson, after whom the auditorium at the new school was named.
The last day of school at the old building for students was on Thursday before February vacation, and as they entered for the final time they were greeted by a banner put up overnight by members of the WHS Class of 1972.
“’72 BIDS ADIEU, WE LOVED THE OLD, ENJOY THE NEW,” it read.
On Friday teachers were packing up their rooms and will return to school a day before students to get their new classrooms set-up and get acquainted with the new facility.
Students will enter the new school and be greeted by members of WHS classes of 1939, 1940, and 1941 who were the first graduates of the old building.
The new school was built on the parking lot of the old school, and the old building is slated for demolition over the next several months so it can be turned into parking for the new facility.
Tours of the new school for the public will start in March with neighbors who have lived through the construction project being the first invited in, followed by Town Meeting members. Tours will continue at the end of April and in May when the community celebrations and formal dedications take place.
The official community dedication of the new school is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, followed by a weekend of activities that will include concerts, dedication of the “1938 room” from the old school and a rededication of the Wilbury A.Crockett Library. The weekend will also include a “GoSmart” program sponsored by the Green Schools Committee and Wellesley Trails Committee to encourage students to walk, bike or take a bus to school to reduce carbon emissions, the annual Veteran’s Day parade on Sunday and will culminate with a concert and fireworks.