Our School Today
(extracted from the Parmenter Open House/Dedication booklet, 1989)
Gerald Murdock Parmenter was born October 18, 1917 at 472 King Street, Franklin, Massachusetts.
Mr. Parmenter attended the Franklin Public Schools graduating in 1935. He attended the Massachusetts State College at Amherst, Massachusetts and later transferred to Hill College where he graduated with an Associate Degree in Business.
In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was accepted for pilot training. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the Air Transport Command. Promoted to First Lieutenant, he was assigned to the China-Burma Theatre. In 1944, Lt. Parmenter’s C-47 exploded in flight while returning to India from Burma.
In the late 1940’s, the Parmenter family donated a parcel of land at the intersection of King and Wachusett Streets to the Town in memory of Lieutenant Parmenter. The Gerald Murdock Parmenter School was built ant opened in 1952.
The original Parmenter School consisted of ten classrooms, a cafeteria and a gymnasium. The school served this area of the Town until 1982 at which time, due to declining enrollment, it was closed. The school was then leased to Horace Mann Educational Associates who provided educational and occupational programs for severely handicapped students until 1988.
In November 1985, the Parmenter Building Utilization Committee was formed. This Committee was charged with studying the organization, enrollment, and growth in the elementary schools in the Town of Franklin. Members of that committee were: Mr. Frank O’Regan, Mr. Steve Campbell, Mr. Roland Kuehn, Ms. Davida Fox, Ms. Isabel Avakian, Ms. Karen Sarapas, Ms. Marsha Donahue, Ms. Jayne Kittredge, Mr. Norman Fording, and Mr. Robert Simmler.
After a year of work, a proposal was made to the Franklin School Committee and Town Council to renovate and expand the Parmenter School.
The Parmenter Building Committee was appointed on April 24, 1987 and began the process of selecting an architect and obtaining approvals from the Department of Education School Building Assistance Bureau.
In January 1988, TAMS Consultants, Inc. was appointed the architectural firm for the design of the School. During the months of January through July, the Committee, teachers, principals, and other staff worked diligently to design the Parmenter School.
On August 1, 1988, the construction bid was awarded to Brett Construction Company of Norwood. On August 23, 1988, the Massachusetts Board of Education approved the project, and on September 9, 1988, ground was broken. Less than one year later, on July 24, 1989, the school was completed.
The opening of Parmenter School alleviated the crowding at the elementary school level in Franklin. The addition of Parmenter allowed students to attend schools in their neighborhood and provided the Town with a facility which is multi-purpose in nature and offers the latest in educational opportunities. In addition, the Town benefits from additional recreational and meeting space. Parmenter is a community resource school.
The opening of Parmenter School realized the objectives established by the Building Committee which were to provide appropriate physical space for a comprehensive educational program, including areas for art, music, computers, special needs, library services, vocal and instrumental music, science, health, food services, and administrative work space. This modern school plant provides a comprehensive educational program for Kindergarten through Grade 5 students. With the help of the Franklin Human Services Department, Recreation Division, work continued on the grounds of the school to provide the school and neighborhood a modern recreational area.
With the completion of the Parmenter School, the citizens of Franklin provided all elementary age children with educational facilities that compare favorable with any elementary facility in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Citizens and educators can take great pride in their accomplishment.