Choosing from five concept designs, commissioners of the Burlington School Board voted unanimously in favor of a plan designated “Option C” on Wednesday, April 28. Initial renderings show a compact building that faces the sports grounds with the main entrance on Institute Road. The new building would be located on the east side of the property, near North Ave, with BTC to the west, and student parking behind the school.
“I look forward to beginning the next phase of this project where we will see our new building take shape and dig into the planning to support deeper learning for each student,” Superintendent Flanagan said in an email to teachers. Thursday afternoon.
The school board began work on building a new secondary school in 2018 under the title of the BHS/BTC ReEnvisioning project. But high levels of aerosolized PCBs found in September 2021 forced the school board to start over. As of May 2021, the Commissioners have chosen a new architectural firm, carried out a second site-finding assessment and have now given their consent to continue with “Option C”.
“I remember hearing about a new freshman year in high school,” Kami Chadwick ’22 said. “I’m excited because I just feel like we need a safer, more accessible building for everyone.”
Superintendent Flanagan and the BHS/BTC 2025 design team recommended “Option C” to the Commissioners. The design had the lowest cost of the five options, includes room to expand, reduces factors that could slow construction, and integrates the natural environment.
Throughout the process, more than 400 people provided feedback through public meetings and surveys. Burlington residents and BHS teachers also favored this option by a small margin.
“The mood right now [at Macy’s] is difficult because of the lack of windows and natural light,” said math teacher Marcel Girouard. “’Option C’ has courses and apparently few classrooms without access to the sea, which I like. And as far as the decision, I think it was a very safe decision.
Not all community members who responded to the outreach supported Option C. They pointed to the fact that “Option C” requires the demolition of Building A by June 2023, which is currently in use and houses the gym, auditorium and cafeteria. “Option A” and “Option C.1” allow building A to remain for an additional year.
The school board responded to this concern by committing to lease space in the city for the athletes, the theater department and the kitchen staff.
A current high-level estimate predicts the building will cost $181.3 million. The district plans to raise funds through a combination of a city bond and state and federal funding.
Girouard believes that despite the expense, a new high school is necessary for student learning and Burlington’s future growth.
“There aren’t many good cities with bad high schools,” he said. “If we want to be proud of our city and attract new families, high school is the centerpiece.”
If all goes well, the School Board aims to open the new BHS/BTC building in September 2025.