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New England News

First Community Meeting On Burlington High School Renovation Held

The Burlington School District’s High School ReEnvisioning Committee held its first Community Input Meeting Tuesday evening. Officials are looking for the public’s input on whether to build a new high school or renovate the existing facility.
In 2013, work began on possible options to rebuild Burlington High School.  Plans were set aside for several years as the district focused on capital needs for the other schools in the district.  Attention has now returned to the high school.  

Burlington School District Director of Property Services Marty Spaulding says the infrastructure of the aging 300,000-square foot, multiple building high school is failing.  “Areas such as electrical, mechanical, as well as a very poor building envelop. The construction during the time that the building was built in 1964; it doesn’t meet current energy code compliance.  So there’s less insulation in the exterior walls. The windows are not as efficient overall. Heating system is not as efficient as what it could be in today’s standards as well as things such as lighting and overall air quality.”

Two plans are being considered by the Re-Envisioning Burlington High School committee.  One would rebuild  it. The other would partially demolish, renovate and expand the school. Steering committee member Martine Gulick presented an overview of the two designs.   “The overall goal tonight is to get a sense from the public, from the community, as to which option they would like to go with. We’re not looking for details. We’re not looking for specifics. But we are trying to get a sense of what the pulse of the community is in terms of building a brand new building or trying to work with the structure that we currently have.”

Breakout sessions occurred during which district residents were asked their assessment of the two plans.  Committee members were also peppered with questions about the two conceptual designs.  “Is the committee committed to moving forward with one of these two options?” “These are the two that have kind of floated to the top as the most cost-effective and reasonable in terms of timeline.”
“Has another location for a new school been located or thought about?”
“Can you give me context for how long do we think the renovation would take?”
“Do we have to fully pay for this with a bond or can we also start a capital campaign and is anybody in contact with the Mayor to make sure that he’s going to support us in this?” “Yes.”

The committee plans to submit a final proposal to the superintendent in January. The school board would also have to approve the plan. It would then move to a bond question on the November 2018 ballot.  The committee says groundbreaking would be in the summer of 2019 at the earliest.  Construction of a new building would take 18 months to 2 years, while the renovation plan would take 2 to 3 years.  The partial demolition with renovation and expansion plan is estimated to cost $58 million.  The projected cost of a new building is $84 million.

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