By Barbara Taormina
Brian Dakin, senior project manager for the new Revere High School project, was at the City Council meeting this week with an update on plans for the building on the existing site.
School and city officials are now considering three different options, with the major difference among them being the number of stories in the academic section of the building. The city will decide whether to move forward with four, five or six stories. Dakin told councillors four stories has been the most common choice for new school buildings. While a six-story building will use less of the available site, Dakin said that height is relatively rare in school districts in Massachusetts and will likely impact academic programming.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro asked which of those options would be the cheapest.
Dakin explained different factors drive costs, but said, “To be honest, they will be pretty similar.”
However, he added that the open space around the building can be captured as usable academic space for tech classes, science classes, performances and other academic purposes. The four-story option includes a courtyard that would provide outdoor space within the structure.
Councillors also questioned how far the school will be from homes on East Mountain Avenue. Dakin said there will likely be a six-to-12-foot retaining wall on school property and that retaining wall will be 10 to 15 feet from the backs of those properties.
Assistant Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard Gallucci was also at the meeting to answer questions about plans for the high school athletic program during the development of the new school. Councillors were concerned about the lack of fields during the construction. Dakin said it’s common practice among new school projects to use fields on existing sites for new buildings and then recreate the fields after the demolition of the existing school on that space. The proposed construction schedule will leave Revere High without athletic fields for four to five years. Gallucci said students will be bussed out of the city for practices and there will be no home games until the fields are rebuilt and ready for use in the winter of 2029. Gallucci also said the state could require the city to build temporary fields.
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino described the field problem as growing pains and said Revere is a resilient community that will find a way to manage.
But Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said taking out the school fields was unimaginable for student-athletes. “Ruining a kid’s high school career isn’t growing problems, especially after what we did to them with Covid. We’re talking about years of busing kids to practice and away games all in order to fit a 20-pound rock into a five-pound bucket.”
In other council news
The City Council’s Legislative Affairs Committee had two outstanding items on its agenda this week. Committee members decided to take no action on a proposal from Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino to ban a fee on paper bags for purchases at city retail establishments. The committee decided to instead place the proposed ordinance on file after receiving an opinion from City Solicitor Paul Capizzi.
According to Capizzi, the fee for a paper bag is meant to offset the cost of the bag. It is considered merchandise, and Capizzi said the council has no authority to set the price of merchandise from local retailers. Capizzi also noted that the fee was intended to encourage the public’s use of reusable bags.
The committee did recommend that the council approve a tighter ordinance against the use of illegal fireworks in the city, which includes a graduated fine schedule of $50, $100 and $150 for first, second and third offenses. Councillors have supported this change in the city’s ordinance proposed by Serino, who raised public safety concerns about potential fires, trouble for vets suffering from PTSD, and the ugly mess left in St. Mary’s parking lot by residents setting off amateur fireworks displays. The council approved the revised ordinance.