A Brief History of Oak Hill Middle School
Design and Construction
Oak Hill Middle School has a rich and long history dating back to the 1900s. The school is located in the Oak Hill village in Newton, Massachusetts. Until 1920, the Oak Hill area was largely rural. With the population increasing and development taking place throughout the 1920s and 1930s, there was a need to build a new school. As early as 1929, Mayor Edwin O. Childs suggested that there was a need for a new school to serve the development at Oak Hill; however, land for a new school was only acquired by the city in 1935. The plan for the construction of the school also included space for a library. Construction was paid for in part by a grant from the federal government. The Oak Hill School and the library were constructed in 1936 and were designed by the firm of Densmore, Le Clear, & Robbins, a prominent local firm with many buildings in Boston and Cambridge. The original school was built on Wheeler Road based on a rectangular plan. The building had two stories and a basement, and it included a library wing (used today as an art room) on the east side connected to the school main building.
Like many of the school buildings of this time period, Oak Hill was built in the Georgian Revival style with distinctive architectural features and beautiful exterior details. It is constructed of red brick and trimmed with a cornice as well as a cast stone door and window surrounds. The main building includes a hipped roof, and the library wing has a gable roof. The main building has symmetrically placed doors at each side of the street. The entrance doors and the windows above the doors are set within cast stone surrounds, and the windows have cast stone sills.
Closure, Reopening, and Present Day
The original school was closed in 1984, during an era of declining school enrollment in Newton. The building was rented to the Solomon Schechter Day School as well as a Montessori school. Due to increasing enrollment in Newton, the school was re-opened as the Oak Hill Middle School in September 1997. Renovations included the demolition of the west side of the building and the addition of a new wing to accommodate its 614 students. Most recently, in the summer of 2020, construction began on a new addition to the 1997 wing. When completed for the start of the 2021-22 school year, it will include three new classrooms, common areas, a small-group workspace, two offices, and two restrooms, as well as a new fitness center.
The first principal of Oak Hill Middle School was Mr. Marvin Shapiro. Mr. Hank Van Putten worked as a principal from 2004 to 2009. Ms. Eva Thompson followed, from 2009 until her retirement in 2013. Presently, Dr. John Harutunian is the Oak Hill Middle School principal.
For over 20 years, Oak Hill Middle School has been a place where dedicated staff, involved parents, and terrific students come together in a caring and nurturing environment, that encourages students to grow to their full potential. Oak Hill is proud to serve students in grades six through eight. It continues to uphold its reputation of excellence in education.
Oak Hill School Historic Report. City of Newton Web Site: http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/building/historic_reports.asp
The Jackson Homestead, Newton, MA.
Ms. Sheila Trunk, former Art Teacher, Oak Hill Middle School