The Whittier Tech Building Committee has voted to replace the existing Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School with construction of a $422 million facility in Haverhill, Mass.
The Haverhill Gazette reports that Whittier officials plan to seek approval from the 11 communities that send students to the regional school. The plans for the campus also would be sent to the Massachusetts School Building Authority to qualify for reimbursement.
About $286 million of the cost would be paid the 11 sending communities after state reimbursement.
The three-story, W-shaped building option favored by the committee would contain almost all vocational, specialty, support, and community programs on the first two floors, and academic classes on the third floor. The campus would be reimagined with athletic fields, tennis and basketball courts, and baseball/softball fields. The existing stadium would remain.
For the 2022-2023 school year, Whittier Tech has 1,277 students and of those, 866 reside in Haverhill — about 68%.
Whittier Tech opened in 1973, and its last significant renovation was a roof replacement in 2007.
Officials say the existing building is not equipped to support new technology and the demands of the 21st-century workforce.
The Building Committee has been meeting since January 2022 to consider all building options, including code upgrades, renovation and addition, and new construction.
Alicia Caritano, a senior associate with JCJ Architecture, has outlined deficiencies in the existing building: Lack of sprinklers; accessibility issues; lack of lighting in some areas; no loading access for shops, and a shortage of classroom space.