Resources‎ > ‎

Options and ideas for middle school overcrowding

Below is a list of options presently being considered to address the imminent over-crowding issues at Ottoson Middle School.   Additional information on Ottoson, Gibbs and the high school can be found further below.
  • Add permanent or temporary modular classrooms at Ottoson
    • This option would entail adding 18-20 modular classrooms in the current upper Ottoson parking lot (and creating a new parking lot on the current lower field) to accommodate all middle schoolers in Arlington.
  • Use Gibbs School as an East Arlington Middle School
    • This option would entail opening the Gibbs School as an East Arlington middle school to accommodate 525-600 students from East Arlington. The Ottoson Middle School would house the remainder of the town’s middle schoolers, and wouldn’t need to be expanded.
  • Bring 8th grade to a newly-renovated High School 
    • The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is currently considering funding the renovation/rebuild of Arlington High School (grades 9-12) and will decide on 1/27/16. The Statement of Interest submitted by the town does not include the 8th grade as part of the project. If AHS is approved for funding, the town would have to request additional funding to include the 8th grade. This request could be approved or denied, and MSBA would likely takes several weeks to months to decide. If approved the new 8-12 school would be projected to open by 9/2021. Eighth grade students would be housed in modulars at Ottoson until that time.
  • Build a permanent building on the Crusher Lot behind the Ottoson for use as a second middle school campus (i.e., 5th and 6th grade, or 7th and 8th grade) )
    • This option entails clearing the small tract of woods behind OMS and building a second campus.
  • Use Gibbs School as a town-wide 6th grade
    • This option would draw 6th graders from across the district to Gibbs School. Ottoson would be used for 7th-8th grade.
  • Use Gibbs School as a town-wide 8th Grade 
    • This option would draw 8th graders from across the district to Gibbs School. Ottoson would be used for 6th-7th grade.
  • Use Gibbs School as a smaller 6th-8th grade middle magnet school with a focus on Arts or STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)
    • Several residents have suggested this option but it has yet to be explored. More research would be necessary.
  • Change the structure of the school day or year to accommodate students in shifts
    • Several residents have suggested this option but it has yet to be explored. More research would be necessary.
Additional contextual / background information:
  • The Ottoson Middle School currently houses all 1,130 middle school students in Arlington, and the number of students is projected to reach 1,400 over the next 10 years according to a population study conducted by a firm hired by the town (often referred to as the McKibben Report). Ottoson’s capacity is 1,050 students. 
  • The Gibbs School was an East Arlington Jr. High until it closed in 1989. It is presently leased to the Arlington Center for the Arts, Learn to Grow, the Kelliher Center, and the Lesley Ellis School. The Gibbs School capacity is between 525-600 students.
  • Arlington High School was recently recommended by the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) to be considered for renovation or rebuilding; if approved, the town would be eligible for up to 55% reimbursement from the State. The board is meeting on January 27th at which time the Town will receive official word. The new high school would be completed by the fall of 2021 based on current estimates.

Comments