When it comes to building schools, the last few years have been full of discussions of all sorts.
There were discussions about virtually every elementary and middle school in the school district’s arsenal. Lately, there have been endless discussions about the McKinley School, and there has even been talk about another elementary school that is still just a distant idea in a sea of school-related chatter.
In all of that, no one has ever talked about Revere High School (RHS), but state School Building Authority (MSBA) executives and board members visited Revere City Hall on Monday to deliver just that message.
Revere needs a new high school very soon.
Meeting with Mayor Dan Rizzo and Superintendent Paul Dakin in an unsolicited gathering, MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy and several MSBA Board members informed the City that it needs to start thinking about a total replacement of RHS, even though the high school is less than 40 years old.
“That’s really too big to wrap our heads around right now,” said Dakin after the meeting. “They had to come say what they had to say to us. We didn’t ask for the meeting. It was unsolicited. They put a team of eight out here to give them a proper report. It’s scary to think about, honestly, but I’ve been in a lot of other high schools over the last two years. After seeing those other facilities, you realize what the SBA is saying. They don’t believe the kids at RHS are getting a 21st Century learning environment and they’re probably right. It’s not far-fetched, and it’s a goal. Is it an immediate goal? No.”
Mayor Dan Rizzo said he took in the information from the MSBA and said all the City could do at this time was begin a discussion.
“The MSBA would like us to pursue the construction of a new Revere High School,” said the mayor. “They are recommending this to help students achieve 21st Century Learning Standards…Unfortunately, we just don’t have the financial wherewithal to embark on such a program. We did agree to consider submitting an SOI (Statement of Interest) simply to get a discussion going. However, there is much to consider before committing to any further school building at this time.”
The Monday meeting came as a result of RHS being denied funding to build new science labs – a multi-million dollar project that is critical for RHS to get a positive accreditation, a process that the high school is going through right now. McCarthy basically told Dakin and Rizzo that RHS had been denied for the science lab funding because the state didn’t want to spend money on a facility such as RHS that needed replacement in the near future.
The science lab funding was believed to be a slam dunk project, an afterthought, and was part of a larger program implemented statewide by the MSBA.
Now, RHS is left without a plan for new science labs, a possible negative on its accreditation and a big meatball left at its door by the state in the form of pushing the replacement of another major Revere school.
“In the end, we might end up like Chelsea where we just have to replace everything,” said Dakin. “I know this isn’t going to sit well with the public. It could even come back to haunt us on our accreditation this fall. They’ve told us the science labs at RHS are a problem, and this will make two straight accreditations where they’ve had to tell us that.”