Council Approves Budget Transfer for High School Building Feasibility Study

By Adam Swift

Compared to the tension-filled City Council chambers during past votes on the future of a new Revere High School, it was a decidedly low-key affair Monday night as the council approved a $2.3 million budget transfer that will allow the city to proceed with a feasibility study for a new high school on the site of the existing school.

Earlier this year, the council voted against moving ahead with a schematic design submission to the Massachusetts School Building Authority to build a new high school at the Wonderland site.

The School Committee voted at its last meeting to use $2.3 million from its FY2023 operating budget to fund the feasibility study.

To complete the reallocation of funds, Richard Viscay, the city’s finance director, said the council needed to vote to move the money from the general fund into Capital Projects – New High School construction fund.

With the approval, Viscay said funds can now be used to secure new contracts for the owner’s project manager, architect, and construction manager so they can get underway with the study.

“This typical would get referred to my committee, ways and means, but if there is no objection from my colleagues on the council, I would prefer to vote this out tonight,” said Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti. “This process has been going on long enough and to my knowledge, the School Committee and the building committee has approved schematic design at the existing high school site so I don’t feel the need that it has to go into my committee to discuss it.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dianne Kelly and Brian Dakin, the owner’s project manager for the past several years from LeftField, were in attendance for Monday night’s meeting, but the council did not raise any questions before moving forward with a roll call vote.

The council voted 8-2 to approve the budget transfer, with Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri and Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky voting no.

Last week, Acting Mayor Patrick Keefe stated that he has concerns about the city spending another $2.3 million to fund a study when he believes Wonderland is still a better site. He stated that building at Wonderland would allow the city to use the existing high school site in the future for middle school needs.

However, Keefe stated that if it was the will of the School Committee and City Council to move forward with a study for a new high school at the existing site, he would not stand in the way.

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