Space reimagined: Saugus district unveils new Charles Helmers building 

Charles Helmers Elementary School students and parents take a look at the new building on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Charles Helmers Elementary School students and parents take a look at the new building on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
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Jack Frizado said he really likes his new classroom at Charles Helmers Elementary School. 

A fifth grader, Frizado, who turned 11 on Sunday, was one of many Huskies to join in with their parents, teachers and school and district officials to cut the ribbon on Thursday afternoon, officially opening the new two-story building. 

“It’s amazing,” Frizado said. “I really enjoyed the new furniture.” 

Furniture isn’t all that’s new. Classrooms are also equipped with the technology that kids are used to at home, only at school they can use it as a learning device. That includes a giant smart board in the flex lab, where various science labs and other fun projects can be conducted. 

One of the classrooms in the new building with brand new equipment on Thursday evening at the Ribbon cutting ceremony at Charles Helmers Elementary School. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
One of the classrooms in the new building with brand new equipment on Thursday evening at the Ribbon cutting ceremony at Charles Helmers Elementary School. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

The flex lab, which has a garage-style door on one side to let students out onto the playground, is also a great place to hang out with friends when not in class, Frizado said. He added that he’s also looking forward to being able to use the lab during class. 

“It’s so amazing. It’s fantastic,” Frizado said. “I think it’s very cool that you can have your own lab and be able to use that during school hours.” 

The building, which cost about $16 million, was paid for using Measure EE funds, putting the community’s tax dollars to good use, Saugus district governing board President Matt Watson said. A similar building is being constructed at James Foster Elementary School, while a single-story building is set to open soon at Skyblue Mesa Elementary School, according to district Superintendent Colleen Hawkins. 

“For our communities to be able to see the culmination of their investment and how it’s going to directly affect their children is so exciting,” Watson said. “I’m walking around talking to some of the families, some of the kids that are already in this building and some that are going to come in next year, they’re really, really excited about it.” 

Charles Helmers Elementary School celebrated a new building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony where families were present to celebrate the occasion on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Charles Helmers Elementary School celebrated a new building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony where families were present to celebrate the occasion on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

Tracy Ford has two children at Charles Helmers, one in first grade and one in transitional kindergarten. She said her family moved to the area three years ago and, when looking at schools, noticed that there was a big project going on at the school. 

“We walked by the area and noticed it was kind of leveled out and didn’t know what was going on,” Ford said. “And then we enrolled in school and figured out what was going on. So, now it’s nearly three years later and we get to see what came into fruition.” 

Cookies and other snacks were spread out on a table in the flex lab for people to munch on as they toured the new building. 

Frizado’s mom, Sara Brownell, said she enjoyed seeing how the building was constructed with the modern child in mind. 

“It’s great, especially the science lab,” Brownell said. “It’s beautiful and it seems really well thought out. The classrooms seem really nicely designed.” 

Charles Helmers Elementary School celebrated a new building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony where families were present to celebrate the occasion on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Charles Helmers Elementary School celebrated a new building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony where families were present to celebrate the occasion on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

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