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Burlington school commissioners decide on new BHS design

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 11:29 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 6:08 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Students in Burlington now have a better idea of what their future high school will look like. School commissioners on Wednesday night chose a design for the new building, but some parents say they feel left out of the process.

The Burlington School Board chose “Option C” for a new Burlington High School and Burlington Technical Center campus. Officials say this option is expected to cost about $181 million.

Burlington High School students have been studying in the former Macy’s downtown since being forced out of their former campus two years ago over PCB contamination. The new building is set to be built next to the condemned high school on Institute Road along North Avenue. Of the five suggested designs, officials say Option C has the lowest cost, most community support and includes ease of traffic.

Artist's rendering of Burlington High School (Option C).
Artist's rendering of Burlington High School (Option C).(WCAX)

“I really wanted to make sure we were responsive to what students wanted to see in a building,” Burlington School Superintendent Tom Flanagan said. “Lots of light, lots of connection to the outdoors.”

While no major concerns about the high school were raised, some are worried about the technical center. Ten different high schools use the center and those community members say they haven’t felt involved in the design process.

“You are required to give equal consideration to all students in the district. Students from Fairfax should get the same consideration as students from Burlington on technical education,” said Chuck Lacy, from MMUUSD in Jericho

Flanagan says they’ll make sure to involve that community more going forward.

“I hear the feedback. We need to reach out more to our partner districts who have students that come to the technical center,” he said. “We genuinely want this to be a program that meets the needs of our region.”

Flanagan says while they’ve picked a design, this is only conceptual and there’s still room for changes.

“I’m very excited about the decision,” Flanagan said. “The school board made a huge decision for the citizens of Burlington for the next 50 years, hopefully, more.”

The design team will hold another public hearing before the completion of a final plan, which should be done in July.

Flanagan says they’re still on track for a new school to open by the fall of 2025.

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