WAKEFIELD – Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School (Northeast Metro Tech) recently welcomed state legislators and town officials to the campus and provided updates about the school’s building project. A legislative breakfast on October 15 served as an opportunity for school leaders to share news about the project’s progress, and to elicit support as the District’s 12 sending communities are asked to support a state-of-the-art structure.
Students attend classes in a more than 50-year-old building that requires educational, capital and maintenance improvements. The new school will address the current facility’s outdated building systems, including much-needed ADA accessibility and code compliance upgrades, in addition to overcrowding.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) recently awarded the district a grant of up to $140.8 million for a new building, the largest in the state’s history. School leaders stressed that:
- The current building has outlived its expected lifespan and no longer supports modern career technical education.
- A new state-of-the-art building will provide 21st-century education to a diverse student population, giving graduates skills that prepare them for high-paying jobs in high-demand fields.
- The MSBA process does not consider that career technical education requires more space than comprehensive schools; therefore, the state pays a lower share of the District’s total cost.
- School officials have planned diligently for many years, developing a cost-effective plan and giving communities time to plan for project expenditures.
- The District places 400 applicants on a waitlist each year, the largest list of any technical school in the state.
The new school will feature improved Individualized Education Program accommodations, state-of-the-art shop space, expanded program offerings, a new primary access roadway from Farm Street to reduce traffic congestion, a full-size gym, a 750-seat auditorium, outdoor space for learning and a new cafeteria. With a focus on sustainability, the project is targeting LEED Silver+ certification with energy-efficient mechanical systems, provisions for solar panels and vegetated roofs. The compact, four-story design will feature an upper-level courtyard, roof decks, and a double-height library rotunda.
The project is estimated to cost $317.4 million. The project will proceed on schedule if all district communities’ legislative bodies do not oppose the project. If one community does, voters can support the project in a districtwide referendum planned during the winter.