Monday May 21, 2007

Field School

In the quarter century after World War II, Weston built five new schools to accommodate a 339 percent increase in the student population. With a housing boom already underway by 1946, officials began planning for a new elementary school. The Arnold Arboretum agreed to sell 46 acres of former Louisa Case land for $10,000. Architect Harold Willis, a Weston resident, began designing a building “of modern construction, without ‘useless’ decoration.”
But on April 7, 1948, a disgruntled student set fire to the Weston High School. The stately brick Colonial-style building (now Brook School Apartments Building C) was completely gutted, with damage estimated at $650,000. The City of Waltham offered its high school for afternoon sessions. A few weeks after the fire, Town Meeting voted to adapt the earlier elementary school plans to the needs of grades seven through twelve. A gymnasium, automotive shop, woodworking shop, and rooms for cooking were added, and the new Weston High School opened for classes in January 1950. Among the modern features were 6,700 bands of glass blocks, used to give classrooms uniform, indirect light. Interior walls were painted in soft pastel tones chosen to “control irritability and distraction.” The building was hailed in Boston Post Magazine as a “Marvel of Modern Science,” “where no student has even the slightest excuse for getting below an A average.”
In the decades that followed, the 1950 building was used as a junior high and later the upper elementary Field School. It was closed in 1981 due to falling enrollments and leased to a variety of users. In 1995, Field was renovated and reopened for grades four and five.



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