The recent public hearing conducted by the Town Council focusing on the School Building Committee’s proposal for the middle and high school and whether to renovate those buildings or construct a brand new middle school/high school complex brought into focus what most observers feel is a foregone conclusion: There is no doubt that the present high school and middle school buildings are beyond their usefulness and that a new high school/middle is a necessity to maximize the educational experience for our students in grades 7-12.
Moreover, with the state reimbursement formula such as it is, it also does not make financial sense to spend an estimated $30 million to renovate the high school when we may be able to have a brand new, state of the art, combined middle/high school for close to the same amount of funding (depending on the reimbursement figures).
We know it’s very early in the process, but it’s clear that the present high school and middle school simply do not make the grade any more. There simply are so many more possibilities in a new school building in these increasingly technological and environmentally-attuned times.
Our readers may recall that the town faced a similar dilemma a decade ago concerning the former E.B. Newton School when some suggested that it might be better to renovate that school because of its architectural significance. However, the combination of an outdated structure and the financial realities militated in favor of a new building and no one today would deny that building a new elementary school was by far the better decision.
Winthrop High School is now almost 50 years old and the Middle School is 40 years old. The time has come to bring our educational infrastructure into the 21st century.