East Longmeadow High School officials discuss future plans following leaking roof issues

East Longmeadow High School officials met with parents and members of the public to discuss a possible plan moving forward after years of leaky ceilings.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:58 PM EDT
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EAST LONGMEADOW, MA. (WGGB/WSHM) - East Longmeadow High School officials met with parents and members of the public to discuss a possible plan moving forward after years of leaky ceilings and other damages.

The school building committee is looking towards building a new high school, a move many support after weighing their options.

“You had a slide up there that said, ‘what if we do nothing,’” said one parent. “So as a community, for some horrible reason decide to do nothing, how much longer can we really kick the can down the road with this existing building?”

Dozens of East Longmeadow parents voiced their concerns on Thursday about the current shape of the high school.

Members of the school building committee walked attendees through four options moving forward, including building a new school, renovating the current building and only completely base repairs.

The meeting took place after a brief tour of the school where parents and community members saw first-hand the damage inside the high school.

During the meeting, the committee presented details on the option they feel is best, building a new school.

“The school building committee elected to proceed with the option we are calling 3C,” said a school building committee member. “We were surprised to see the add/reno was so close to the all-new option in terms of cost. A lot of that had to do with the age of the building and bringing it up to code.”

The cost of the new building was a major concern for many attendees.

“I have 5 kids in the schools, so I think it’s really important that we realistically think about all the options that we’re talking about for our kids and as a taxpayer,” said one parent. “But I think it’s important we give people real numbers.”

The cost is projected to be between 175 to180 million dollars

The Massachusetts school building authority will reimburse the district more than 56% of the eligible costs.

Which in this case, would cover about 55 million dollars, according to the committee members.

Committee members unveiled preliminary designs for the new school, which would be nearly 5,000 square feet larger than the existing building and built right next to it.

Western Mass News spoke with one parent who said it’s about time the district rebuilds the school.

“I quite frankly don’t know how the students are still in the building,” said Karen Phillips. “The school needs to be replaced sooner rather than later.”

The project will enter its next phase, which will in part define a budget that will happen if the feasibility study is approved during an April 26 meeting. If all goes according to plan, construction is expected to start in 2024.