By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
By a unanimous vote Monday night, the Everett City Council voted to approve the Everett School Department’s Letter of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to study the feasibility of building an addition to the Everett High School (EHS), just 10 years after the new high school opened its doors to students.
The principal reason being offered by the City for adding to the new high school is growing student enrollment in Everett and overcrowding conditions at EHS.
According to a copy of the Letter of Interest, which was provided to the Council by the School Committee prior to Monday night’s vote, the Everett High School opened its doors in 2007, with a capacity for 1,800 students. However, the school is already home to more than 2,000 students. Also, there is not sufficient laboratory or computer laboratory space for all students in the school, such that some classes and subjects are held in classrooms or other spaces that were not planned to facilitate those subjects. Finally, projections for school-age population in the city continues to grow, making space in the high school a pressing need for the near future.
The Letter of Interest points to several approved housing projects in Everett that have the potential to add hundreds of new households to the city and notes that enrollment in the elementary levels is already approaching 600 students per grade, which would translate to more than 2,400 students at the high school by the time that growth reaches the four high school grade levels.
The approval by the City Council clears the way for the MSBA to consider Everett’s request, but does not guarantee that the MSBA will in fact dedicate financial resources to the project. In fact, all such requests have several hurdles to clear before MSBA approves of a project and the EHS addition is not the only, or highest priority, school building project in Everett.
The School Department had submitted a similar Letter of Interest in building a addition or annex building to help manage overcrowding at the George Keverian Elementary School.