Turco Secures Funds To Help Ease Burden of School Payments

By Adam Swift

The town recently received some good news about its share of the cost of the new Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield.

“We received a letter from (the school) and (Superintendent) Dave DiBarri and I called Dave … and it’s really good news,” said Town Council President Jim Letterie. “The vast majority of the thanks on this goes to state Representative Jeff Turco, who worked tirelessly to try to get $100 million from the state to be allotted to different vocational projects being done throughout the state.”

Those efforts were successful, with roughly $30 million of that money being directed to the $317.5 million Northeast Metro Tech building project.

“That’s good news for them, and that’s better news for us,” said Letterie. 

Currently, Winthrop’s portion of the debt payments for the project are at roughly $200,000 per year, but will increase to about $460,000 per year at the height of the bond payments.

“Because of this, our payments will go down approximately 20 percent and we will be in the $400,000 range,” said Letterie. “That is a $60,000 savings a year for 25 years. This is incredible, and I thank Representative Turco again for his diligence in this.”

The $317.5 million project is also receiving grant funding through the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which approved the project in 2017.

Site work is underway on the new 383,000 square foot building on the existing campus hillside, and will be large enough for 1,600 students. Construction of the new building is expected to be complete by August of 2026, followed by the demolition of the current high school and the construction of new fields through 2027.

Letterie said the new vocational high school is sorely needed, as it seeks to increase its enrollment by 20 percent in the coming years.

“(DiBarri) does a great job running that school, and we very much look forward to that project being completed,” said Letterie.

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