WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 172 of 223

"To see The Fenn Center burn down to the ground was shocking," says Bassichis. The all-wooden structure had only been built in 1990. "That building was the only one where the entire school and staff could fit all at the same time, whether for an assembly or lunch together," he states. "The Fenn Center acted as our gym, assembly hall, and cafeteria, with an industrial kitchen, a science classroom, nurse's office, and computer room." What followed was one of the truest demonstrations of civic sup- port ever seen in the MetroWest area. "While I don't recommend that anyone have a fire, there are several silver linings to the tragedy," Bassichis emphasizes. "It brought our community together — not just our school community, but the Weston community as well." Students, parents, staff, alumni, Board of Directors, and Weston citi- zens stepped up to the plate to ask what they could do. "People dropped what they were doing during the holidays to set up an interim operat- ing mode for us, such as temporary classrooms, a temporary kitchen in the art room, and kitchen suppliers made it a top priority to get us equipment we needed," he says. The Meadowbrook School in Weston delivered food to Gifford for students for several weeks. Local electricians worked long hours to get power turned back on for computers, fire alarms, and lighting across campus in time for the January school start. Plumbers, the town's planning board, zoning department, building inspectors, and others at Weston Town hall, plus firefighters and police helped get Gifford to a functional status while school administrators figured out next steps. "We didn't miss a beat — we were ready to receive our students back in January 2010 for the first day of school in the New Year," Bassichis says. "All of us, including students, really got the sense that we were part of a large community of people who cared." Newfound Fenn "No kid wants to go to a school for special needs students, until they see Gifford," Bassichis notes. "Once they visit, they realize, 'this is a safe 171 s p r i n g 2 0 1 5 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e

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