MSBA Votes to Send New RHS Into the Schematic Design Phase

Three months after the School Committee, the School Building Committee and the Revere City Council voted to recommend the former Wonderland Dogtrack as the preferred site for a new Revere High School (RHS), the project has hit another benchmark.

At its April board meeting the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted unanimously to move the RHS project into the Schematic Design phase. In the Schematic Design phase, the  MSBA and Revere will look at possible options to replace the existing Revere High School  with a potential new facility. The next step is for the MSBA to work in collaboration with the District to produce detailed designs for a potential project.

Chair of the MSBA, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and MSBA Executive Director/Deputy CEO John McCarthy made the announcement last Wednesday.

“Thanks to our collaborative work with local officials, we are working to build a 21st century  educational facility that will provide Revere students with a top-notch learning environment,” said Goldberg.

The proposed project would replace the existing Revere High School with a new facility serving  grades 9-12 on an alternative site known as the “Wonderland” site. The Project Scope and  Budget Agreement and a Project Funding Agreement, remain contingent upon the District  gaining full ownership, control, and exclusive use of the proposed site.

During this phase, the project will continue to develop the plan to locate the new RHS at the Wonderland site. This will include continuing the process towards land acquisition, developing a definitive approach to stormwater, traffic mitigation and construction logistics, and further establishing final building layout, materials and design.

According to the MSBA the goal of the Schematic Design phase is to achieve a detailed and site-specific understanding of the project’s scope and schedule, as well as update cost estimates for final approval by the City prior to advancing into the final pre-construction design phases in 2023 and ultimately new building construction in 2024. 

“The new Revere High School will mean a better learning and teaching location for students and  teachers,” said McCarthy.

Revere Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly added, “We are so excited to enter this next phase of the work. The children of Revere are truly fortunate to live in a community where their education is prioritized and valued.”

The vote by the School Committee, Building Committee and City Council to recommend Wonderland as the preferred site came after each body weighed the numerous pros and cons of placing a new high school there.

While there were pros and cons that came with building a new high school at either Wonderland or the current Revere High site, the biggest con that emerged surrounding Wonderland was the cost.

According to the feasibility studies, Wonderland was by far the most costly and would run the city between $14 and $21 million more than building a new high school on the current Revere High site.

After being reimbursed by MSBA grants building a new high school at the Wonderland site would cost the city $259,907,570 out of pocket versus between $238,070,280 to $245,959,706 for the two options presented for building on the current Revere High site.

However, the studies also found the pros of building at Wonderland would maintain the existing high school and site for the potential future use as a middle school and/or community center.

There would also be no disruption to school operations during construction by building at Wonderland and would be comparatively less disruption to abutters.

The Wonderland site would be a single-phase construction unlike building on the current Revere High site, which would have been done in phases.

Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo said over the course of the last year the Building Committee, of which he is a member, Superintendent Dianne Kelly, School Committee members, City Council members, and other local stakeholders, met to discuss details such as building location and timelines.

“They worked closely with our Project Manager, Leftfield and our Design Team from Perkins Eastman,” he said. “In January 2022, the Revere City Council voted unanimously to build the new Revere High School on the site of the former Wonderland Greyhound Park on VFW Parkway. The April 27 vote is the next big step to the building process.”

Council President Gerry Visconti added Revere, its families and its students have been in desperate need of a new high school for quite some time.

“It’s exciting to see that we are moving forward with this vision,” said Visconti. “I am pleased the MSBA unanimously approved to move the project to the schematic design phase.”

Ward 4 City Councillor Patrick Keefe said it’s great to see the project progress and moving into the next phase.

“Designing, site selection and eventually building a state-of-the-art community resource will be a tall task and I am excited to be part of the team to bring the region’s newest high school to Revere,” he said.

The City of Revere and the Revere Public Schools will be hosting future opportunities for Revere residents, parents, and faculty to provide input in the near future. To stay involved with the project and to learn more, visit https://reverehighschool.zenfolio.com/.

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