Waltham High School Funding Request Rejected

Waltham High School had been seeking funding for renovations.

Waltham High School.
Waltham High School.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority has rejected a funding request to renovate Waltham High School.

The MSBA, which provides state funding for school building projects, notified Superintendent Susan Nicholson of the decision in a Jan. 2. letter. 

While no specific reason was given, the MSBA considers requests based on the greatest need, according to the letter.

The district is eligible to refile its request during the next fiscal year, according to the letter. 

Overall, 201 schools from 117 districts applied for funding in fiscal 2013, according to the letter. According to the MSAB website, 47 were approved for funding. 

The renovations are needed for several reasons, according to the district's funding statement of interest for funding. Without renovations, the district risks losing its accreditation, according to the statement. Also, the building needs additional wireless Internet access and handicapped accessibility. The statement also cites potential future overcrowding due to increased enrollment. 

Nicholson could not be reached for comment immediately. 
BW January 06, 2014 at 01:56 PM
Based on this article, I can see why this request would be denied. In regard to accreditation, the district isn't at risk of losing accreditation because one facility is in need of renovation. Although NEASC has standards in place for an environment that supports education success (however they phrase it) it's not going to scare anyone into funding a renovation. If it did, there would be many cities and towns that would've already lost accreditation. In regard to wireless, although this can be expensive, costs of commercial wireless equipment has dropped tremendously in the last few years. The district should be able to handle this costs. Add more outdoor antennaes to the corners of the building and in the courtyards, and you will increase access. Working in Higher Education, I've seen this done before. In regard to handicap access, every effort should be made to address this issue, but you are technically grandfathered in so major changes don't have to be made unless you are doing a full scale renovation. Try better planning, move classes as necessary to students assist students with limited mobility. Increased enrollment? Waltham HS had over 2400 students at points during the 80's and was fine. The school is currently below 1500, even with a 33% jump the school will still be below 2000. Although there may be new guidelines in place regarding class size, overcrowding wouldn't be addressed in renovations without a new wing or building. This is just from the outside looking in that I can understand why this request was denied. Conduct a full scale review of needs for the High School, you can outsource this if necessary, but you should have the resources and personnel to make a formal request. You might get turned down for a renovation, but may get support to make a long-term plan for a new construction. The school may only be ... what 55-60 years old, but a new school is probably a better option considering "life of structure/facilities" from that time frame.
Frosty the Snowman January 07, 2014 at 11:40 PM
@Common Sense, 1969 the current WHS was opened. I've heard of schools in Massachusetts teaching in trailers, I'm not shocked that Waltham was denied.
Ryan Grannan-Doll January 08, 2014 at 12:27 AM
I once covered a school where the library literally fell off the building. Their request was expedited.


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