SAUGUS — A pile of rubble sits where a wrecking ball just knocked down Saugus High School’s Burns gym, encouraging the town’s historical commission to nail down the location of a missing time capsule on the site.
“As members of a town appointed board, the Historical Commission is committed to preserving the history of our town for future generations,” said vice-chair Marilyn Carlson.
Newspaper articles from the day the capsule was buried in 1954 say it sits beneath the building’s cornerstone, but the commission has received substantial information that indicates it is located somewhere else on the property, possibly in the circle in front of the main entrance.
For two weeks, member Jean Swanson has been fielding phone calls, monitoring Facebook and collecting emails from former students.
“We are researching and trying to authenticate all the information received,” said Carlson. “We currently have three sites under consideration: the building cornerstone, outside the auditorium, or in the circle. One person mentioned their class time capsule outside the cafeteria.
Another question is whether the time capsule and the cornerstone are different objects or one-in-the same.”
The commission and other town historians are worried that if the capsule is not located and the new school is built, valuable documents and other items of historical value will be lost forever.
The copper capsule was built by Stanley Piwowarski and William McKay of the high school advisory committee. It is said to be filled with historic documents and records, including a book of signatures from all students and teachers in the Saugus Public Schools in 1954.
The new middle-high school will be constructed on the same property as the existing high school.
The new school will be 270,000 square feet with a 12,000 square-foot gymnasium, 750-seat auditorium and capacity for 1,360 students. It will have state-of-the-art science labs and technology classrooms, fine and performing arts classrooms, a sports complex and outdoor track, outdoor classroom space, and student gardens.
Upon completion, which is expected to be in 2020, the old building will be torn down to make space for fields.