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Why a Boston Suburb Combined Its High School and Senior Center

Result: a modern two-in-one complex that serves young and old.  
The main entrance to Swampscott High School, which opened in 2007
The main entrance to Swampscott High School, which opened in 2007Richard Mandelkorn

“You’ll have to excuse us, because we’re about to serve lunch, and it’s total chaos,” says Marilyn Hurwitz, striding through the busy lobby of the Swampscott Senior Center toward a multipurpose room where some three dozen elderly women and a handful of men sit waiting for their salmon fillets, spinach salads, and split-pea soup.

The ladies—who, in the gracious style of their generation, wear skirts and stockings, accessorized with lipstick and tasteful jewelry—sit chatting, their walkers and canes parked nearby. But should lunch be late, Hurwitz assures me, they are capable of creating a ruckus.