Building Options Narrowed for New High School

By Adam Swift

The building options for a new Revere High School at the current site continue to be narrowed down.

Over the next several months, the high school building committee will continue to further develop and establish cost estimates for three building options, with the goal of a final option being selected around the beginning of 2024.

Monday night, Brian Dakin of Leftfield was before the City Council to update it on the progress being made by the building committee. Dakin is the owner’s project manager for the project.

The three options still on the table include four- and five-story options with courtyards, as well as a six-story option.

In addition, Dakin said there will be pricing and plans developed for bringing the current high school up to code and to renovate the existing school.

While Dakin said it is highly unlikely that the city will move forward with either of those two options, they are required for submission to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). MSBA grants are expected to pay for a percentage of the building project.

All of the building options on the table have essentially the same phasing and timeline. The new school would be built on the existing soccer and baseball field on the property, with the existing building being demolished and the fields being replaced after the new building is completed.

Under the best-case scenario, construction would start in 2025 with the fields being taken off line. The new high school would be completed around the summer of 2028 for the 28-29 school year. The existing building would be demolished and the fields restored by the end of the 2029 calendar year, Dakin said.

“We’re going to be spending the next month to two months working on cost estimates to compare all these options, and each will get its own phasing and scheduling,” said Dakin, adding that the schedules will be fairly similar for all the options.

By the end of 2023, Dakin said there will be a final presentation with more detailed plans and details for the council and the School Committee. He said there will be a number of public meetings and input sessions as the building committee and the city moves toward the selection of a preferred option for a new high school.

“The key is that we don’t want to land the plane like we landed the plane last time and come in with costs and ask people to make a decision within a meeting or two meetings,” said Dakin.

Once there is a preferred option selected, there would be further development of that design option, with the goal of final approval of the project and a debt authorization next summer.

Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro asked if Dakin could give input on whether the four-, five-, or six-story building option would be more affordable.

In all the building options, the academic wings would be the taller buildings, with the athletic, performing arts, and other core facilities at lower levels.

“We are looking to give you a definitive answer on this well before anyone has to make this decision,” said Dakin.

But, Dakin said there are several drivers of cost, including the square footage and the size of the building envelope, as well as the mechanical systems.

While the taller buildings would have less of a building envelope size, Dakin cautioned that they could be classified as high-rise buildings, requiring more complex mechanical systems.

“That minute is defined as a high rise, there are a lot of mechanical systems that have to come in … there are all sorts of details that drive the mechanical costs up,” said Dakin. “I think they all (the prices) are going to be pretty similar, to be honest with you.”

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