Winter Hill School in Somerville closes through end of academic year; students relocated

The closure comes after a building assessment that was prompted when a piece of concrete fell on an unoccupied staircase last week.

With just 10 days left in the school year, Winter Hill Community Innovation School students are being relocated to new addresses for the remainder of classes, Somerville Public Schools has announced.

The building is closing for the rest of the 2022-2023 academic year after a piece of concrete fell in a stairwell while the school was unoccupied last week, the district said.

In the meantime, educators are expected to gather materials from the old building and relocate them to the new spaces, SPS said.

“We understand that this is challenging, frustrating for our students, teachers, and families,” Mayor Katjana Ballantyne said in a press conference Monday, adding that “we have been all hands on deck finalizing the contingency plans for the remainder of the school year.”


Ballantyne and Interim Superintendent Jeff Curley had initially closed the building just Friday, but upon further inspection and discussion, officials determined that the “Winter Hill school could not be fully reoccupied by the end of the 2022-2023 school year,” according to the announcement.

Some parents and family members in the Winter Hill Community Innovation School PTA Facebook Page have expressed concern about their children’s education. One person commented that the announcement gave “really strong March 2020 energy.”

At the press conference, Ballantyne added that the decision had to do with “fire safety compliance” following the closure of the north stairwell where the concrete fell.

The Somerville Educators Union is making noise and demanding the city update and repair the building, which it says has been in disarray for years.

Making infrastructure plans and updates to Winter Hill is a top priority, Ballantyne said in the press conference, adding that the city has already started planning.

“We’ve been working diligently to address decades — decades of deferred maintenance,” she said. “Unlike in the past, we’re not waiting.”

Richard Raiche, the director of infrastructure and asset management for Somerville, said at the press conference that Winter Hill “has been subject to more … attention from the building team than any other building.” He cited examples of recent roof, window, and door replacements, among other updates in the past few years.


Curley said that “closing a school is always a last resort,” and that the district is working to “get the services, supports, and learning back in place for our students as quickly as possible.”

“Since this happened last week we’ve been working non-stop to make sure that we have plans in place for our educators and our students,” he said.

AIM students are being sent to the Edgerly Building, pre-K and kindergarten students are being moved to the Capuano Early Childhood Center, and grades 1-8 are going to Tufts University’s Olin Hall. Further information about the temporary facilities are available on the district’s website.

Raiche said that it’s too early to tell when the building will reopen, and there is still work that needs to be done before that happens, including testing the concrete.


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