William E. Sheehan School

549 Pond Street, Westwood, MA 02090



Although the official dedication of the Sheehan School was in May of 1949, its history begins several years before then. Shortly after World War II it was determined that a new school was needed in Westwood. Both the Colburn and the Islington Schools were filled to capacity and the Town voted to build a new school. The site, ten acres adjacent to Buckminster Pond, was selected but the scarcity of building materials forced the town to wait until 1948 to begin construction. Bennet-Stewart, Inc. of Boston was awarded the contract and $263,830 was appropriated by a special town meeting.

The design was typical of schools built during that era; a three story building having twelve classrooms. The basement housed an all-purpose room to be used as a physical education space, an assembly space, and an eating area. The name of the school, The Pond Plain School, was selected because of its location to Buckminster Pond. Before the building was formally completed, overcrowding and double sessions forced several classes to move from the Colburn School (now the school department administrative offices) into the Pond Plain School before its official opening. By September of 1949, all classrooms were occupied with an enrollment of 203 students in six grades.

Within a few years overcrowding again became an issue. Even after the construction of several other schools, measures had to be taken to relieve the overcrowding at the Pond Plain School. In 1967 construction was begun on an addition. This addition included eight classrooms, a gym, a cafetorium with a stage, and several partitions to provide space for varying needs. There was also reconstruction of the basement area to provide space for a library/media center. This enabled the rearrangement of office and storage space in the older section of the building. Dedication of the new addition took place in November 1968.

In 1976, the Pond Plain was renamed the William E. Sheehan School in honor of William E. Sheehan, a well known and beloved Westwood police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1975.

Throughout the years the configuration of grades housed at the school has changed. Presently the school houses over 425 students in grades three, four, and five. Just as when the school opened 50 years ago, the William E. Sheehan School in 1998 is bursting with enthusiastic children, learning, achieving, and bound for the 21st Century.


Ruth Simonet

Sheehan School Library/Media Specialist