Last Chance Tonight for Public to Shape Future of Whittier Tech Before Building Committee Meets

From left, Patricia Lowell, pupil personnel services director; Superintendent Maureen A. Lynch; and Kara Kosmes, business manager, during an earlier appearance before the Haverhill Education Coalition. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The public may weigh in tonight on options for renovating or replacing Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Superintendent Maureen Lynch was a guest yesterday morning on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” program, and says tonight’s meeting is the last one before the school’s building committee make its choice Friday.

“We’ll be looking at the three options we’ve been asked to look at as part of our feasibility study, and we’ll be looking for community input. Then, on Friday, we’ll be making a decision about which of those three options we plan to pursue as we move forward in the feasibility study,” she notes.

Lynch says there are three options—a code upgrade, a code upgrade plus an addition or a new building altogether. She points to issues with the current building.

“The heat, air conditioning, windows, roof. We’ve been lucky. We’ve never gone to bond, never gone to borrow from our cities and towns. We’ve been able to do a lot of the work right here within the building with our own people, but we have been told by the city inspector that we can no longer do any more renovations in this building until we put a sprinkler system in,” she explains.

Lynch adds they are “tapped out” with what the school can do on its own.

“These buildings were built in the 1970s. There’s asbestos. Once you start pulling that up, that’s a whole other thing. And, once you know, when you start a construction project, when you get behind the walls, there are some serious issues. I can tell you we have some serious issues behind our walls. Thank goodness for our maintenance department. They are amazing because when you walk through the building, it doesn’t look so bad, but we are making our own pieces for equipment that’s over 50 years old, and we are being held together by duct tape,” she says.

Tonight’s forum starts at 7 in the school auditorium, 115 Amesbury Line Road, Haverhill.

Of the three options being considered, Lynch says, the Massachusetts School Building Authority will reimburse a portion of the project should the decision be made to construct a new building or upgrade with an addition, but no reimbursement would be available if the decision is made to just update the building to code.

More information is available online here.

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