Students Divided Over High School Move - NECN
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Students Divided Over High School Move

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    NEWSLETTERS

    People in Lowell, Massachusetts, are split on whether a new high school should be built or the current location should be renovated.

    (Published Friday, June 23, 2017)

    A battle surrounding the new high school in Lowell, Massachusetts, is continuing after officials voted to move it to the suburbs.

    People in the city are split over where it should be built or if the current location should be renovated.

    "I think it should be at Cawley," said Andrews Bonsu.

    Bonsu's classmate Carlos Valderrama agrees.

    "I'm up for Lowell High to Cawley," he said.

    "They should just keep this building," argued Tyresse Gutierrez.

    Students who attend Lowell High School are divided, as was the city council following its 5-4 vote earlier this week.

    City officials voted in favor of relocating Lowell High School near Cawley Stadium.

    "They'd make a five-story building, they'd have all new parking and they'd renovate some of the fields," said Valderrama.

    The project could cost as much as $339 million.

    "My own recommendation was for downtown," said Superintendent of Schools Salah Khelfaoui.

    He said the other option is to renovate the school's current location downtown and it would save the district money.

    "That was going to allow us to keep as much money as possible in use so we can invest it in the other schools," said Khelfaoui.

    Students are concerned about how they would get to the proposed location which is nearly three miles away.

    "Not everyone gets rides to school," said Stephano Toussaint. "Some just have to walk everyday."

    "How are we going to get transportation there and back to where we came from?" asked Gutierrez.

    Right now, nearly 40 percent of students walk to the downtown location.

    Valderrama said he was at the city council meeting and transportation is included in the plan.

    "They'd actually send out 65 plus buses, yellow buses, for Lowell High," said Valderrama.

    Many residents who live near Cawley have signs posted in their yard opposing the relocation.

    "Taxes are definitely going to go up," said David Colton. "We've been warned about that already."

    Colton said officials predict property taxes could increase by about 8 percent.

    He's also concerned about paying for transportation which students pay for currently because they use public buses.

    "Busing them is going to cost like $3 million a year extra," said Colton

    City officials will now submit the plan to the Massachusetts School Board Authority.

    The board will then tell them how much the state will reimburse the city for building the new school.

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