Work Continues on New High School Plans

With the approval of the bonding of a new Revere High School at the Wonderland site earlier this spring, the RHS Building Committee has focused on fine tuning the design of the proposed new school.

The building committee held its latest meeting at the end of June, where it presented some revised design plans for the four-story, $500-million plus project.

In bookkeeping business, the committee officially signed off on paying the last invoice of the feasibility study phase of the project to architect Eastman Perkins.

All further financing for the project will go toward the official building project as approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority in April.

In May, the city council approved a bond authorization of just over $493 million to build the new high school. The council had previously approved $29.5 million for the taking of the Wonderland property by eminent domain. The price of that eminent domain taking is still being contested by the former owners of the property.

After accounting for the MSBA grants, the total cost of building on the Wonderland site to the city had been estimated at about $285.5 million.

The major design change discussed at last month’s building committee meeting was moving the receiving area from near the secondary entrance on the south side of the proposed school to the north side, away from the roadway and the entrance. That move would also lead to some changes in programming and kitchen space.

“We felt there could be an improvement in moving receiving to the back of the building,” said Dawn Guarriello of project architect Perkins Eastman.

In addition, the kitchen and serving area would be moved to the back of the building, creating more of a service area at the rear of the high school, and highlighting more educational spaces near the front of the school, she said.

Moving the kitchen and serving area would not impact the location of the main cafeteria on the first floor, but would necessitate a slight change in the location of the freshman cafeteria on the second floor.

“Serving needs a direct connection from below up to the second floor,” said Guarriello.

In addition, there were also some proposed changes to the media commons areas on the third and fourth floors to increase the height and improve the views of those areas.

There were some questions raised about whether moving the freshman cafeteria would affect its size or capacity.

“The approval we got from the MSBA really locks in square footage we get from all of the rooms,” said Brian Dakin of owner’s project manager Leftfield. “We do have some degree of flexibility of reconfiguration, then the further we go along, the less flexibility we will have. But we cannot change the size at this point.”

There were also questions about the size and accessibility of the auditorium, which will be on the second floor of the building. The current capacity is around 850 people, but project architects said that number could increase during the design.

For the next meeting in July, Dakin said he and Guarriello would work on providing a better view of the flow and access for events in the gym and the auditorium.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dianne Kelly said that as design plans continue, there will be more detailed focus groups with staff and students about how to best design and use the individual spaces.

The schedule of the project has the new high school ready to open in August of 2028 in time for the 2028-29 school year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.