Stoneham Moves Forward in its Quest for a New High School
Dec 12, 2018 09:58PM
● By Dan Marra
STONEHAM – After five years of frustration, Stoneham moved one step closer in its quest for a new high school. On Wednesday morning, Stoneham’s Superintendent, John Macero, along with members of the School Committee and Board of Selectmen received official word from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) that the Stoneham High School project can move forward.
It was something Macero knew was likely last week when Stoneham made the final list, but wasn’t official until today.
“We’re very excited to be a part of this process,” Macero said. “This was a total community effort and while we still have a long way to go, it’s great to begin this process. There was a sense of pure happiness [when it became official] and we’re finally able to move to the next stage.”
MSBA’s approval is contingent on Stoneham completing certain deliverables over the next 270 days, which includes forming a building committee, projecting future high school enrollment in order to gauge the size the new school would need to be, and eventually securing funding for a feasibility study, which can be partially reimbursed by the MSBA.
Even though Stoneham conducted its own feasibility study on the high school a few years ago, the MSBA requires all districts that are participating in their program to have a feasibility study through the MSBA. While it’s possible some of the designs in the town’s high school feasibility study would also be included in the MSBA’s, that’s no guarantee.
Additionally, it won’t be known if Stoneham will be building a new high school or just renovating the current building until the feasibility study is complete. The town will make a recommendation based on the study, but ultimately, since MSBA is funding part of the project, they have final approval.
“One of the reasons I love the MSBA is because it’s a state organization that looks out for what’s in the best interest of the taxpayers,” Macero said. “They make sure we do everything we need to do to get the best possible solution for the town.”
In his experience, Macero expects to spend the next two years on completing the eligibility and feasibility process before the town will need to vote on the project’s funding. If all goes according to plan, Macero said Stoneham could have a new high school by September of 2024.
“This is exciting news for both the Town and for Stoneham public schools and I look forward to the many educational opportunities for our students that a new high school building will bring,” said Shelly MacNeill, chair of the Stoneham Select Board.
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