HARWICH – More than 300 people yesterday celebrated the opening of Cape Cod’s newest school, Monomoy High School.
The $60 million dollar, 168,000-square-foot school features state-of-the-art facilities for 8th to 12th graders from Chatham and Harwich.
Monomoy School Committee Chairman Terry Russell said the opening of the school marks the coming together of two communities.
“Someone once said, some things in our lives happen exactly once. A birth of a child, a birth of a new school. This celebration, this ribbon-cutting is one of those singular magical moments for the Chatham and Harwich communities,” he said.
The state contributed about $30 million toward the new school, which is the newest regional school district in the commonwealth.\
The groundbreaking for the school 17 months earlier included a symbolic blending of the soils of the two towns. Dozens of children from kindergarten through 12th grade took soil from their backyards and brought it to the school property for the groundbreaking.
Russell said, “This symbolic act of mixing their home soil with the soil for their future school laid the promise for the future of Monomoy.”
The process of the two schools coming together in a regional school district had a number of stops and starts over the course of 50 years.
School Building Committee member Allin Thompson of Harwich laid out the timeline, starting with the two school districts sharing a superintendent and six other staffers from the years 1903 to 1968.
In 1959, the school superintendent at the time made a big pitch for regionalization in the Harwich town report.
Harwich asked the Dennis-Yarmouth School District to regionalize in 1954 but was turned down.
In 1956, Harwich approached Eastham, Orleans and Wellfleeet with regionalization. The town was again turned down.
In 1960, Harwich Town Meeting said yes to regionalization but the Town of Chatham said no.
In 1968, Harwich approached Brewster, but Brewster said no.
Between 1971 and 1979, people from the towns of Harwich and Chatham meet to discuss regionalization but the committee’s recommendations never made it to Town Meeting.
In 1992, the tables turned when Chatham asked Harwich to regionalize. That time, Harwich said no.
In 2010, the two towns finally agreed to regionalize and work started on planning the new high school to replace Harwich High School, which was in need of major updating.