By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
The Everett School Committee voted unanimously on Monday night to authorize Superintendent Frederick F. Foresteire to ask the city government to submit a statement of interest for an addition at Everett High School.
Assistant Superintendent Thomas Stella explained to the School Committee that their vote would essentially repeat a similar action taken by the city last fall, at the request of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
“When we talked with the MSBA (last year), they basically asked us to hold off on submitting the letter until this year,” said Stella. “So, we have updated the statement of interest to reflect the current enrollment and staffing figures.”
According to the draft statement of interest, the high school was built for 1,800 students, but is now 252 students over that capacity and enrollments in the lower grades indicate that the school will be getting even more crowded in the next few years.
“Currently, we have 7,301 students across the district and each of the elementary grades has enrollment greater than 600 students,” confirmed Stella.
“In a few years, we could be looking at 2,400 students in this (high school) building,” added Superintendent Foresteire.
The vote by the school committee Monday night, essentially sends the draft statement of interest to Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the City Council for their approval. Dr. Stella did say that there is an April 11 deadline for the city to submit the letter to MSBA to be considered for acceptance into the school building process, so the City Council will likely have to take up the matter at one of its next two meetings.
The Everett schools and the city are already working with the MSBA on a solution for the overcrowded conditions at the George Keverian Elementary School. The city was accepted into the school building process for a new elementary school last year and the city council has authorized bonding of $1.5 million to conduct a feasibility study for a new Keverian School or an addition to the existing school.
“The MSBA has authorized us to hire an Owner’s Project Manager (OPM), which is the next step in that process and the city is currently advertising for an OPM,” said Stella.
The bids for the OPM open at the end of the week, on March 24.