A new or substantially renovated Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School is on the horizon.
After five annual submissions, the Massachusetts School Building Authority last month invited the nearly 50-year-old school into its eligibility period. The designation means Whittier Tech must now form a local building committee. Superintendent Maureen A. Lynch last night told members of the Haverhill Education Coalition Whittier Tech was forced to take steps after Haverhill building officials declared no more renovations may take place. Inspectors said the school needs a modern sprinkler system, among other updates, to continue growing.
“We are about a year away from a feasibility study,” Lynch said, explaining the process determines whether the school is renovated or replaced. While she expects a renovation program, the outcome isn’t certain and “There is a very rigid timeline we have to follow.”
In a statement, state Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg noted, “The MSBA will work collaboratively with local officials to ensure the best outcome for the District’s students.”
The required sprinkler system alone is estimated to cost more than $4 million.
Lynch noted Haverhill students comprise 800 of the school’s 1,300 students. She said the school’s new Health Wing has become popular with health, medical and dental assisting programs. In the area of advanced manufacturing, students may enter concurrent or dual enrollment with Northern Essex Community College.
Whittier Tech is full from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. with standard day students and workforce education after hours. It is also working on a program to take additional high school students who could not be accepted into programs during a new afternoon shift.