Superintendent David DiBarri and the Northeast Metropolitan Technical School Committee announce that voters across the District’s 12 sending communities will have the opportunity to approve a new state-of-the-art school building on Jan. 25.
Northeast currently serves about 1,300 students in its career technical education programs, but only has the capacity to accept 41 percent of applicants each year. Another 1,300 post-graduates and adults benefit from Northeast’s night or weekend training programs to advance their careers.
Northeast was built 53 years ago in 1968 and the facility has outlived its intended lifespan. Classrooms and shops are overcrowded, infrastructure systems are outdated, and the building does not comply with existing Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.
A team made up of Northeast educational leaders, School Committee members, Town Managers, and construction experts, has spent more than four years developing a plan for a new building from 40 different options considered. In partnership with officials in sending communities, after listening to suggestions and concerns, and with concurrence from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the building option proposed is most cost-effective and fiscally responsible to serve students and residents for the next 50 years.
The project will cost $317.4 million. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) awarded the District a grant of up to $140.8 million in August 2021, the most in its history. The remaining cost will be assessed on a per pupil basis to district member communities through the issuance of a 30-year construction bond, with largest impact beginning in Fiscal Year 2026 – three years from now during the height of construction.
The new school will feature 21st-century learning environments, improved Individualized Education Program (IEP) accommodations, state-of-the-art shop and technical lab space, expanded program offerings, a new primary access roadway from Farm Street to reduce traffic congestion, a full-size gym, a 750-seat auditorium, outdoor learning space, and a new cafeteria.
With a focus on sustainability, the project is targeting LEED Silver+ certification with energy-efficient mechanical systems, provisions for solar panels, and vegetated roofs. The compact, four-story design will feature a double-height library rotunda.
The grant offer from MSBA stipulates a deadline to accept or reject the project. If voters do not approve, the District would be required to re-apply for the multi-year MSBA process from the beginning, delaying construction by several years and increasing costs to taxpayers.
“Northeast Metropolitan Technical School’s goal is to ensure every student reaches their full potential and to find employment in well-paying, high-demand jobs upon graduation,” Superintendent DiBarri said. “All of the work that has gone into developing this proposed project and presenting it to our communities for approval has been done with those core goals in mind.”
Voters will be asked whether they support the school plan at a special referendum on Jan. 25. Polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the following locations:
- Chelsea: City Hall, 500 Broadway
- Malden: Senior Center Auditorium, 7 Washington St.
- Melrose: Middle School Gym Complex, 90 Melrose St.
- North Reading: St. Theresa’s Church, 63 Winter St.
- Reading: Reading Memorial High School Hawkes Field House, 62 Oakland Road
- Revere: St. Anthony’s Church (rear entrance), 250 Revere St.
- Saugus: Senior Center, 466 Central St.
- Stoneham: Town Hall, 35 Central St.
- Wakefield: Galvin Middle School, 525 Main St.
- Winchester: Town Hall, 71 Mt. Vernon St.
- Winthrop: Old Middle School Gym, 151 Pauline St., Robert DeLeo Senior Center, 35 Harvard St.; O’Connell Hall, 9 Golden Drive
- Woburn: Old Wyman Elementary School, Main Street and Eaton Avenue
Voters with questions about polling locations are asked to contact their city or town clerk.