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North Suburban News

Winchester Looking to Build a New School

Oct 24, 2018 11:41PM ● By Dan Marra

WINCHESTER  - Winchester could be looking at receiving approval to build another new school by the Massachusetts Building Authority (MSBA) in the coming months. After renovating McCall, and rebuilding Vinson-Owen and the high school, the district is on the MSBA’s short list of towns looking to get state funding to help pay for a school building project.

Schools that are approved, receive a certain percentage of the project cost from the MSBA, which visited the Lynch school on Oct. 10.

Lynch Elementary School – a projected $50 million project - is the next school on the town's list to be improved. Superintendent Judy Evans is hopeful the town will receive approval by the MSBA, as the situation at Lynch checks a number of boxes for the MSBA – most notably enrollment.

Winchester is one of the fastest growing districts in the state in terms of school enrollment. In the last 10 years, while Massachusetts saw a decrease in enrollment of 1.5 percent, Winchester saw an increase of more than 17 percent.

“Winchester is a really appealing district for a numbers of reasons,” Evans said. “The schools are very good. It’s a quick commute to Boston, and so there’s a lot of demand.”

On top of that, on the side of town that houses the Lynch Elementary school, there’s expected to be an increase in condominiums which is expected to put an even bigger strain on the capped out school.

“We’re out of space at Lynch,” Evans said. “There are no more classrooms in that district. We’re now using rooms that were not designed as classrooms. “

Winchester will be up against a number of communities vying for the limited funds available from the state, including from neighboring towns – Stoneham and Wakefield, both of which are looking for state funds to help build new high schools.

Additionally, Evans said the Lynch school has a lot of its original features from when it was first built nearly 60 years ago, including single pane windows, original boiler and lack of electrical outlets. According to Evans, in order to repair all that is needed at the school it would cost approximately $30 million, potentially the same amount a new school would cost after factoring in funding from the state.

“The MSBA sees the need for a new school,” Evans said. “They see the age of the physical plant, the technology needs the school has and our increasing enrollment.”

The town will find out in either December of February if they will receive state money to help fund the project. If successful, Winchester will be looking to repair the Muraco school next.

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