WINTHROP – It has been like watching a puzzle be put together and Tuesday afternoon one of the significant pieces of the new high school/middle school was put in place in front of local officials, a few students and construction workers.
Everyone gathered around the last piece of steel that had been painted grey and signed by school children. Others like Town Council President Peter Gill signed his name and a (class of ’61). Superintendent of Schools John Macero signed, as well as members of the school building committee, and more, including State Sen. Anthony Petrocelli.
Attached to the top was an American flag and a small potted fir tree. The tree is a Scandinavian and construction tradition of not building anything taller than the tree. Later it will be planted.
“It’s only appropriate that this is the home of the Vikings,” said Jack McCarthy, executive director of the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
The 20-foot piece of steel was hoisted by Zichelle Steel of Leominster. Residents have marveled all winter long on how the steel workers worked through the snow, the bitter cold and winds.
The $81.8 million project is being partially funded through the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which will cover almost 60 percent of the project. Taxpayers will foot the rest of the bill.
Gill said that 65 percent of Winthrop voters approved the building of the school. He also noted that he has been around for the building of two high schools, but he doesn’t think he’ll be around for three.
“This is not a cost. This is an investment,” Gill said.
“In 14 months we’ll be here to cut the ribbon,” Macero said.