An overwhelming number of residents supported the Winthrop Public School Department’s (WPS) plan to construct a new school facility in the town at last Wednesday’s community meeting.
Over 80 people attended the meeting at Winthrop High School where school officials presented three options to the town for feedback.
The first option was an expansion renovation on the existing Winthrop High School. The plan would consist of renovating the current high school and adding a second facility that would serve as the town’s middle school. The cost of that project would be $68.9 million with the town’s share of the cost set at $36 million.
The second option, which was the option preferred by most in the audience last Wednesday night, was to tear down the existing high school and build a brand new facility that would house both a high school and middle school that would operate independently of one another. The cost of that project would be $83 million with the town’s share of the cost set at $43 million.
The third, and least popular option was to renovate only the current high school building. The cost of that project would be $53 million with the town’s share of the cost set at $28 million.
Superintendent John Macero said it was easy to see why most at the meeting supported the second option.
“When you look at the cost your can see why taxpayers in the Town of Winthrop would support the second option,” said Macero. “Going from renovation just the high school for $28 million to getting a brand new facility for $15 million more I think appeals to tax payers. Looking at tax payer cost, it would be $2 more per week for the brand new facility.”
Macero added that all the project costs include renovations to Miller Field and a swing space for students during construction and renovation.
“The last option only got one vote at last week’s meeting because I think many agree renovating only the high school only kicks the can down the road for the Middle School,” said Macero. “Eventually we’d have to came back and solve the problems with that school.”
With less than 100 people in attendance at last week’s meeting, Macero said he’s going to continue to meet with multiple groups to get a good pulse on where the town is at in regards to the options that are on the table.
Macero will be at the School Committee’s November 29 meeting and give the same presentation there as school officials did last week. He will also attend the Winthrop Senior Center luncheon on December 4 at noon and later that evening the Winthrop Town Council meeting.
“We want to hear from as many residents as we can before any decision is made,” said.
The WPS will also launch a survey on their website’s homepage at www.winthrop.k12.ma.us where residents can log on and vote for the proposal they like the best.
For four years WPS has been looking at upgrading its high school and middle school facilities.
“When we began looking at repairs and renovations four years ago we found it would be too costly to undertake renovations at both schools and perhaps we should look at a combined middle school/high school effort,” said Macero before last week’s meeting.