State lawmakers joined town officials and a crowd of Greenfield High School alumni today to mark the groundbreaking of the town’s new high school. Unlike many high schools in the area, enrollment in Greenfield High is on its way up. That’s according to superintendent Susan Hollins. She attributes the increase to what she calls “21st century” art and music programs and the school’s college-level classes. But Hollins says it’s been difficult operating out of a dilapidated building.
“People are having to work around rooms that are the wrong size, the ceilings falling down. It will just be a breath of fresh air…literally because the ventilation systems don’t work.”
Hollins says after three years of review, Greenfield town officials and the Massachusetts School Building Authority — or MSBA — decided the facility was beyond repair. So they’ll be preserving and renovating the school’s eleven-hundred seat philharmonic concert hall and incorporating that into a brand new school.
State treasurer Stephen Grossman is chairman of the MSBA — which is funded through a penny of the state’s sales tax. He says the authority will reimburse Greenfield 80-percent of the 66 million dollar project, since the plans meet the MSBA’s goals.
“That it serves the needs of the kids whom we’re educating to make sure that our children and our grandchildren stay here and believe that there’s a bright future.”
Pittsfield, Easthampton and West Springfield also have MSBA funded schools in various stages of planning and construction. Greenfield’s new High School should be completed in two years.