The Town of Bridgewater is a city in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States, 28 miles (43 km) south of Boston. At the 2000 Census, the population was 25,185. It is named after Bridgwater, Somerset, England.
Bridgewater was formerly governed on the local level by the open town meeting form of government, led by a board of selectmen until January 2011. Bridgewater is now led by seven precinct councilors, 1 per precinct, and 2 at large councilors, with an appointed town manager, assessor, tax collector, for a total of 9 councilors. This is from the majority Yes vote on #1 at the April 24, 2010 annual town election, to change from a 5 person elected board of selectmen to a 9 person town council, and thus abolishing the annual town meeting. Town facilities are located at the center of town, with the police department headquarters being just west of the square along Route 104. There are two fire departments in town, next to the college and in the eastern part of town. There is one post office, located just north of the town center along Route 18. The town’s public library is just north of the town center, and is a part of the Southeastern Area Internet Library Services (SAILS) network.
Bridgewater shares its school district with neighboring Raynham, with both towns operating their own elementary and middle schools, and sending their students to a common high school. Bridgewater has one elementary school, George H. Mitchell Elementary (south and west of the town center, formerly known as Bridgewater Elementary), which serves students from kindergarten through grade three. All the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders attend M.G. Williams Intermediate School, while seventh and eighth graders attend Bridgewater Middle School. The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School is located in Bridgewater, west of the town center. B-R’s athletics teams are nicknamed the Trojans, and their colors are red and white. The athletic teams of the Bridgewater Middle School use the Spartans nickname.
Bridgewater is home to the Southbrook School, a private school which serves students from kindergarten through sixth grade. There are also private schools in nearby Taunton and Brockton. Bridgewater was formerly the site of the Bridgewater Academy, a private high school located on the town common.
The town is also home to Bridgewater State University, a public liberal arts university that was originally founded as a teachers school in 1840. It is the largest of the state’s nine state universities outside of the University of Massachusetts system. As of 2005, approximately 7,000 undergraduate students and 1,800 postgraduate students are enrolled at the college.
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