Mary Lou Osborne, who co-chairs the School Building Assistance Committee (SBAC) with David Dockendorf, is calling it a “milestone meeting.” Indeed, tonight’s the night that many people in Winthrop have been looking forward to with much anticipation for a long time. The SBAC will officially make its preference known by a vote of the 20-member committee which of three options (new middle school/high school, new school addition and renovations, or school renovations) it wants to advance for a school project.
The committee has been working diligently for the past two years in preparation for this vote that will proceed to the Winthrop School Committee, who will most likely vote to affirm the SBAC decision. The feelings of the community have been pretty consistent in leaning toward the construction of a brand new, combined middle school/high school. The results of the school building survey will be announced before the SBAC vote and residents will have an opportunity to give their final input prior to the SBAC vote.
It has been evident for several years that the current middle school and high school buildings are far from adequate. We heard Councilor-at-Large Larry Powers describe the buildings to be in “deplorable” condition and our town manager, James McKenna, informed the Town Council about the inefficient boiler system that has resulted in some days when the heat simply doesn’t come on in either building (And there are no parts available to fix the problem because the parts have been discontinued). Our students deserve environmental conditions that will maximize their educational experience and that begins with the basic premise the buildings will be warm in the winter months.
So the time is now. Just look at some of our nearby communities like Chelsea and Everett and to the north to towns like Manchester and Ipswich where new middle school/high schools have bettered the quality of student life. How proud we all would be of a brand new middle school/high school that not only would be a morale booster for everyone, but also would increase our property values.
A new school will give our administrators and teachers the one essential resource they need to continue the great work they are doing despite the tough conditions they face from an aging and outdated school building infrastructure.