HEATH — The child chatter in the half-filled cafeteria on the last day of school was seemingly cheery, until you asked if they were looking forward to their summer vacation.
One little girl hesitated, then nodded her head. “Yes,” she said solemnly. “But I’m sad to leave this school.”
“I’m sad that the school is closing,” added the 8-year-old boy beside her. “It’s my favorite school in the whole world.”
For the final day of school, most of the children wore green Heath School T-shirts designed by some of their school mates.
One teacher gave her students beach balls as a going-away gift. Others were given potted plants or had special snacks of brownies or cupcakes.
In the fall, most of the children will go on to the Hawlemont Regional School in Charlemont. The Heath School closing comes after a long, and, for many, agonizing process that led to the determination that operating the school was too costly for the small enrollment. Heath had more than 90 elementary students when the school opened; now there are 32, and the operating costs for the school were over $1 million.
On July 1, the school building is to be returned to Heath town officials, along with a lease termination agreement from the Mohawk Trail Regional School District to pay the town a total of $240,000 over the next three years, while Heath finds a new use for the building.