SWANSEA – The school district is starting to replace the city’s public college building, which is almost 100 years old.
“It’s just not an ideal space for 21st century learning,” Superintendent of Schools John Robidoux said of the current building.
The Joseph Case High School building on Main Street, which originally housed Joseph Case High School, opened in 1927. Robidoux said the district has maintained the building to maintain its maintenance. security, by updating its ventilation system and installing UV lamps to kill mold before the pandemic even strikes.
“We did not let it fall into disrepair,” he said.
But the restrictions imposed by a decades-old building are becoming increasingly difficult to circumvent, he said. Some classrooms in the school are only large enough to accommodate eight or ten students, and the school does not have a proper auditorium. An ideal building would include space for meetings and professional development in addition to the gymnasium, and a “creative space” for students’ creative projects, he said.
Robidoux said the plot of land that houses the school is too small to build a larger building or add an addition to the current one. Instead, the district would like to construct a new school building next to Joseph Case High School.
Earlier this year, the district filed an expression of interest with the Massachusetts School Building Authority, a state quasi-government agency that works with school districts to fund major construction and renovation projects, in order to potentially obtain funding for a new college building.
The district will know in December or January if the MSBA has accepted him into their program. If this happens, the project must go through a structured process to conduct a feasibility study and a design phase, which would include several votes from municipal assemblies for funding and will take several years.
“I’m probably planning in four years,” that’s when the city might see a new school, said Robidoux.
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