May 7, 2021
Good afternoon Burlington community,
I’m writing with an important update regarding the future of Burlington High School and Technical Center (BHS/BTC). On Tuesday night, the Burlington Board of School Commissioners agreed with my recommendation and voted to end the BHS/BTC ReEnvisioning project and begin planning in earnest to build a new high school and technical center. The reality is that the PCB contamination at the Institute Road campus is too widespread to successfully meet the original goals our community supported with the $70 million bond. For more information on how we got to this point, please review the information and updates available on our project webpage, as well as my most recent memo to the board with this recommendation.
I want you to know I believe this decision provides a great opportunity for our district, the City of Burlington, and the surrounding community that benefits from our amazing technical center. My expectation is that a new project will begin to move quickly. In the meantime, we have a 3.5-year lease for our Downtown BHS space (which will welcome all high school students back to full in-person learning this fall) and we have the option to extend the lease if needed.
Thankfully, our students are doing great at DtBHS and our BTC locations and will continue to have an amazing school experience throughout this process. All of the strengths of BHS/BTC that I heard about in my listening tour continue to be true; we have incredible diversity, committed staff, and an engaged community. And we have a strong academic and extracurricular model that will continue preparing students for the best colleges in our country, to have options to fulfill all of their goals, and to enter the workforce with the skills to succeed. We also have strong leadership in our BHS new principal, Ms. McBride. I am personally looking forward to having my own children at the high school for all of these reasons.
As we move into the next step for our high school and technical center, we will move forward aggressively. I have tasked our team with identifying options and conducting site assessments, and they are already having conversations and beginning this work. In order to deliver on a new building in a short time frame, we will seek feedback from stakeholders and also draw on the wealth of information that has been collected over the past five years. We are also partnering with our City, and will seek support from the State and Federal governments to support our community as we navigate out of this crisis. We have received support in the past and will seek to do so again.
This will be hard work but I have no doubt that the outcome will be the building our community deserves.
I hope you will join me in getting excited about this opportunity.