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Rendering of plans for new South Community High School

Worcester, Mass., seeks $13 million loan to pay for design of replacement high school

The city wants to replace South Community High School with a new facility estimated to cost $185 million.

The Worcester, Mass., City Council is being asked to approve a $13 million loan to pay for costs associated with the designing and hiring a construction manager for a new South High Community School.

The Worcester Telegram reports that the loan request comes after the building committee voted last month to submit to the Massachusetts School Buildings Authority (MSBA) a schematic design for a new 359,994-square-foot school on the existing campus. A feasibility study established preliminary costs for a full rebuild at $185 million.

The school will house students in grades 9 to 12 as well as a districtwide special education program, culinary arts, early childhood and auto/diesel programs.

The MSBA is scheduled to decide in December on a project scope and budget for the new school. The existing South High has about 1,300 students.

The school project is being built by the city in partnership with the MSBA, which will pay a majority of the project costs.

Created as an open concept school without walls in 1978, South High has had problems with noise since it opened. Because no walls were built between the classrooms, background sound from one classroom often interfered with what is going on in another. Efforts have been made over the years to correct the problem — some parts of the school now have walls — but other parts continue to be noisy.

Construction of a new school will take about three years and it is anticipated that students will occupy it in September 2021.

Once construction is complete, the existing school will be demolished, and the space will be used for multi-use athletic field and an additional practice field.

Heery International is the project manager. The project architect is Lamoureux Pagano & Associates.

TAGS: Construction
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