Podcast: Whittier Tech to Spend the Next Year Deciding Between Renovation or Building New

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News.)

Cities and towns making up the membership of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School won’t be asked for at least a year to sign off on whatever plans emerge for a renovated or replacement school.

During 2023, the School Building Committee will review what approach is most feasible, while following the process set down by the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Whittier Tech Superintendent Maureen Lynch, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, said there are three options—renovate the current building, renovate and expand to allow for more students or construct a new school altogether.

“Over the next year or so, we are really going to be looking at what our best option is going to be. Then next year, next spring, we will be going to our communities, the spring of 2024, wow! We’ll be going to our communities and asking about are they going to approve a building project,” she said.

Currently Whittier Tech supports 1,400 students, but one plan considers adding another 120. Lynch said, however, the School Building Committee is leaning towards keeping enrollment at the current level.

“We are really keeping in mind what our communities can afford, but right now the bottom line is construction is very expensive. So, we can hope over the next year those prices go down, but we do need to kind of plan for the worst-case scenario,” she explained.

Lynch explained what drives her passion.

“I feel like my responsibility here is to make sure Whittier Tech is taken care of for the next generation and, unequivocally, we have to do something. We had a water main break last week right at the entrance into the building. Luckily we noticed it about 2:30, but we had to cancel our night school program because we needed to get it repaired. Those are the things that starting to happen. Our systems are beyond their useful life and we need to start preparing for how we are going to fix it, and what that looks like, and that’s our job for the next year or so,” she said.

Those who wish to learn more about the project may view plans or watch Building Committee meetings online at whittiertech.org

The 50-year-old school serves the Cities of Haverhill, Amesbury and Newburyport and the towns of Groveland, Merrimac, Salisbury, West Newbury, Newbury, Rowley, Georgetown and Ipswich.

Besides WHAV.net, WHAV’s “Merrimack Valley Newsmakers” podcasts are available via Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Alexa.

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