New High School Could Affect Fourth of July

Town Manager said Wilmington could lose carnival.

The impact is wide stretching. , one noticeable change that could follow would be felt over the summers in upcoming years.

Town Manager Michael Caira said because of the layout of the potential school, there could be changes to .

“It’s not clear at this point what kind of impact (the school) would have, but the obvious part is that it would likely impact ,” said Caira. “That doesn’t mean we can’t still have a celebration, particularly as it involves the activities on the Town Common. We might just have to switch the venue. I’d still expect the celebration, just maybe not the same as in the past.”

If the project passes, demolition of the gymnasium is the first step of construction. Caira said there would be no impact on the 2012 Fourth of July celebration because the demolition would not take place until after the festivities have wrapped up.

The Town Manager said the scope of the project would be felt on the Fourth of July activities slated for 2013 and 2014, which is when the school’s completion is slated for if it passes.

“(In those years) we would probably have to come up with alternative plans,” said Caira. “Frankly, the carnival is not the focus of the Fourth celebration. The carnival helps pay for the fireworks, so if the concern is about paying for the fireworks, that is certainly doable.”

What are your thoughts on this issue? Let us know in the comments section below.

sssull October 20, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Solution - BUY THE FARM - no loss of 4th activities, do not have to move Roman house, gain a town hall ( old high school building), rec center ( gym), wildwood property can be used as cemetery space ( almost out of space), LARGER reimbursement from state for model building, a gain of acres and acres of open space for park/fields, no added cost for sewer from Lowell St, no added cost for demolition, NO BRAINER!
Bob October 20, 2011 at 01:39 AM
Sorry, I will not be voting for a new high school. The way the economy is today and the uncertainty of the next few years I cant see how lowering peoples paychecks will help. I may be in the minority but so be it.
sssull October 20, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Bob, I do not think you are in the minority. Besides the economy issues, the location is wrong, the plan is ugly horrible crammed on the site, and people are not happy about what happened at the "public" meeting.
Tom October 20, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Bob - I hear you brother, but I'd rather pay 50% now than 100% later. Times are tough, but my wife is going to cast a 'yes' vote for our 2 granddaughters and I am casting a 'yes' vote for our grandson. Just hope I'm around to actually see them benefit from this thing. sssull - I remember you. You led the efforts against a new library in town. I doubt your old playbooks are going to work against THIS building project. Let me guess, running for Selectmen next year? Using another building project to further your political career? Good luck with your comeback. You're going to need it.
sssull October 20, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Too funny, of course you remember me, how could you forget? No not running for any office, although many people do ask me to. If you really want to d something for your grand kids education, how about making sure that we do not build more "science labs" that do get get utilized because they either do not work, or the funding for our science programs have been cut to bare bones. See I have put three children through the system, have one more to go. Case in point, 2 that are now in college, hardly ever used the science labs in the new middle school, my high school sophomore, she NEVER had a science lab in her middle school years. Oh and and FYI for ya, I led the effort against the location of the new library. I stayed quite at the request of the library advocates on the over the top library they proposed at the Swain. They killed that project themselves. Having the facts correct is always helpful.
Karl Ian Sagal October 20, 2011 at 03:20 AM
The fun on the 4th events are great fun for Wilmington residents, but the carnival is what brings in the crowds that support the charitable organizations. I have worked those kiosks in the tennis courts for years, with both kids and several organizations. It is not the same crowd as the meals in the tents on the common. And I never said that we should have a carnival and not a high school. I just said that we should not discount the impact of that carnival on many fine organizations in Wilmington. The need for a high school is a completely different issue. We need some updates, in my opinion, or a new science wing, maybe a new auditorium. The new gym will be much smaller, and a great deal of the new school will not be needed nor provide any improvement to education. And I have a child in both the Woburn Street school, and one in the Middle School. I am an engineer, so I am not unfamiliar with schooling, and what makes a good education and what does not. Buildings do not. People with the right attitude and motivations do. And the 50% argument vs the 100% argument is a laugh, and is kind of sad. I will pay 50% of this build if it happens with my town taxes, and 50% of the build with my state taxes. How does that make a bargain? I love those who say that money from the state is free money. Where does any government get any money? From us. Those of us smart enough to understand that, and those of us who do not.
sssull October 20, 2011 at 03:32 AM
Karl, ask your middle schooler how often they have science labs in the new labs. From what I understand they are broken and lack funding to fix. 87.3 million would go a long way for science programs. I have not done the comparisons but I have been told ( by teachers!) over the past 10 years our science programs have been slashed and slashed. Sad really. I agree with you, new buildings do not mean better educations. Look at the new high school Woburn built, they rank even lower than we do according to Boston Magazine. Maybe a science and tech campus could be built, and renovate the HVAC at the high school........ there is nothing wrong with the buildings. Oh that's right too, remember when we were promised ac at the new middle school? Wonder if they plan on going back on that promise with the high school...........
Karl Ian Sagal October 20, 2011 at 05:05 AM
My son has only been there for a month. I don't know yet if he would know the condition of the building yet. Of course, my niece could not attend classes in one of the houses, because she had asthma, and the shortcut with the air conditioning and air ductwork caused some of the areas to be unhealthy for kids with breathing issues. I grew up near New Haven. Yale University clearly cannot provide anyone much of an education, because several of their buildings are older than the high school. I dare say many are much older than the Swain and Whitfield as well. I happen to like the fact that there was so much effort expressed about wrapping the building around and twisting it on the site to keep the football field at the high school site, so much so the kids will have no gym for two years, but they will destroy it anyway, so that they can spend $ 1 million to replace the grass with AstroTurf. And for those who say we only will pay 50%, because the state is paying for 50% of this project, and we all know they do not use tax money... Anyway, that turf field will be paid for 100% by the town, because even Beacon Hill feels it is not justifiable as an educational expense. Think about that. We are spending a million dollars that the rocket scientists in the state capital cannot justify. They pretty rarely find a way to spend tax dollars that is too far for them. I am not saying the field is a bad idea or not, but the timing is sure is bad.
Meg Ryan October 20, 2011 at 12:36 PM
What will happen if we vote "No" at the upcoming election? Will the entire project be scrapped, or will we just go back to the drawing board? Though I'm not a fan of some of the details of the upcoming project, there absolutely has to be some updates on the current structure. The ceiling is deteriorating in various areas of the building and classrooms are too few and too small. It seems like the plans that the Building Committee have made aren't going to change before the election. I would hate for this project to be delayed for decades because of details.
Meg Ryan October 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM
Thank you very much Dawn!
webmom October 20, 2011 at 12:47 PM
CR I agree with you..2 of mine have been through that school and it clearly needs updates. Many areas of deterioration, overcrowded spaces, and just an overall dreary feeling every time I step into that building. I also agree that new buildings do not make a good education..they just make it a more comfortable space for learning. So the bottom line is always, is the extra comfort worth it? The extra funding may or may not increase lab or program time, we can't know that..what we do know is the minimum it's going to cost us (it usually goes up one way or another). Is the cost worth it.
Christine October 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Votes like these are opportunities, and this an opportunity to do something good for posterity... Once the high school is built the true hard work has just begun... Parents must get more involved in town, share your expectations for greatness with the WPS...then demand the higher standards we know our children are capable of achieving.....a new school is an opportunity...money and time has been spent to make something happen...I would like to see it through...there will always be good reasons not to vote yes-- but consider this, if this DOESN'T pass it will be years to get here again...that would be a shame..for a few bucks a month???
Karl Ian Sagal October 20, 2011 at 12:54 PM
I do not think that the state will refund us any tax money if we do not build. The state will not refund tax money ever, period. That does not mean we should waste money as fast as we can, because we don't want our neighbors to waste it first. So, while they will not refund us any money, if we do spend it, they will increase our taxes faster than if we do not. That is not a good reason to spend money. It is like when the credit card company sends you a letter saying they increased your credit amount. It is not a reason to spend money. I have said all along that the building needs some updates, but that is a far cry from the cost of rebuilding the entire building. I was at that meeting as well, and we are not being told the whole truth. In government, you rarely do get the whole story. There are forces who want this building built, and will not talk about any of the disadvantages, and only the advantages. There is a ying and a yang here, there always is when the town is planning to spend 80 to 100 million dollars, and destroy a building they themselves have said is sound. Scare tactics and all kinds of mis-information are all over the place. Fixing things is not something that is brand new. People have done it for a long time. Throwing out good things, and buying better things is also not new. Governments deciding they are better at spending my money is not new either. Problem is, governments are not efficient at anything they do.
Christine October 20, 2011 at 01:18 PM
I agree with you Karl on several points, but I see this as spending MY money.. I have a choice here...and since I'm not getting my money back anytime soon.. I'd like to see a new building filled with possibilities. Many of us are angry at our government ,but I will take my chances on this project and see it through both before AND after the school is done..
webmom October 20, 2011 at 01:22 PM
Dawn, I wanted to add to my comment about comfort. You're right about one thing, it's more than just comfort. I remember last year my daughter said the temperature in the school was around 55...55 imagine? The boilers are broken...and at this time, I don't think they ever fixed them, but I don't really know. I've stopped asking questions because all I ever get are expected scripted responses. So, yes, the school is in need of major repair, more than just comfort issues. I suppose one can ask themselves if the Middle School was worth it; I think many of the same arguments for and against were used on that one
Rocco Perloni October 21, 2011 at 03:05 AM
I am disturbed that too many people don't get educated about things. The new middle school doesn't have air conditioning throughout. The top floor has windows that only open a crack so that some kid doesn't jump out to end the misery. This makes for an oven for students. A flier i received states that the that the high school has a new boiler and new water heater. I was shown that this was taken from the application that the school superintendent filled out to the Mass. School Bldg. Authority. It also describes many other updates and additions. I hear College tuition is hovering around $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Would it make sense for parents to save more money and not waste it on new metal studs and flimsy drywall that do not educate. I like some of Kevin MacDonald's ideas such as not rushing this school, looking at a possible hybrid conversion between a community college and leased office space to create interactive on site co-op learning with paid work study. Mr. MacDonald proposes creative higher education financing to eliminate bank tyranny! tyranny!!!
suz sull October 21, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Mr. Perloni, Yu are correct about the Middle School. I had posted earlier that we were promised on the floor of town meeting that the Middle School would have ac. It was part of the plan, so wasn't a bigger gym and aud. The $ that was saved was sent to the Public Safety Building instead because they were over budget. I know people stood up and said they would not vote for the new middle school if it had no ac. But the air quality at the high school is horrible also. It needs to be addressed. I do not think spending 87 million needs to be done to address it. Commercial buildings older than the high school update HVAC all the time, I know that is the business I work in. I agree there needs to be more honest discussion. Maybe its me, but It always seems like these projects get crammed down our throats.
Steven McGinley November 01, 2011 at 10:45 PM
My first thought is that all of these educators and politicians that talk about the poor condition of the high school are the same people who let it happen!!! If we cannot afford to maintain the old high school how do you think you're going to pay for the maintenance on all of these new state-of-the-art systems. And make no mistake about it your maintenance costs will go up. As will your operational costs. I couldn't agree more with Mr. Sagal. Just like someone else said, in the private sector updates to HVAC systems are done all the time. Someone mentioned the current infant structure would not allow for technology upgrades. That makes me wonder are they planning on putting a hardwired network in? When everything else nowadays is done wireless? Of course they're going to put hardwired network in that's how engineering houses and the trade unions make their money.
Steven McGinley November 01, 2011 at 10:46 PM
The engineers that someone keeps quoting make their money on the percentage of the job, the more waste they can put into it, the bigger their house on the Cape. I work in many local school systems I work in brand-new hundred million dollars schools and old schools alike. And why are we asked to vote on what will surely be a $90-$100,000,000 project without knowing the details, where the blueprints where the specs????? Do we really need to build a Taj Mahal with architectural grade everything, hanging pendant lights for the kids to try to throw their pencils and papers on to? And if I see it there using classroom unit ventilators, well don't even get me started there :-) This is a bad idea and a waste of tens of millions of dollars. If anybody will, would like to contact me on my thoughts or how I could help to stop this please do.
kickbacks galore November 09, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Are they civil/structural engineers or choo choo engineers?
Frank West November 20, 2011 at 05:12 PM
All- If the new high school goest through as planned, we will see a change in our community - a change that has become part of what Wilmington is all about. I understand that on its surface, the carnival and fireworks have nothing to do with the high school and as was said in the 26 May minutes of the building committee during a discussion about the 4th of July fireworks "The Town Manager suggested that the fireworks should not be a reason to vote for or against any options", the minutes, I find it interesting that the newspapers (other than Wilmington Patch) have not told us about any ourside changes would occur as a result of the new configuration, a discussion that had happened back in May 2011. I think that in an age of texting, Facebook, etc... the carnival is an opportunity for the kids to "get together" and enjoy time together. Also, the many town organizations profit both from a financial standpoint becasue of the event but also there is a lot of learning and interaction between the adults and youth in each booth. These are positives that may be missed. These non-profits use this fund raiser as income to support many activities and scholarships to our youth. It was suggested to move them to the Swain site. Possible (but very dangerous with parking and streets being open) maybe but without the draw of the carnival and fireworks, there will be a greatly diminished crowd. Some would consider this progress - I for one am not sure it is. .
Patty November 22, 2011 at 08:25 PM
I for one am sure that you are out of your mind. The fireworks can be shot off somewhere else. I’m sure the Fourth of July committee will find another place for the vendors as well. Anyone that votes (either way) contingent on the fire works is NUTS.
Stacie November 22, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Patty I am right there with you. There are other locations available to celebrate the fourth, personally as long as we had the supers and the community booths I'd be just as happy...Carnival only brings in trouble.
Karl Ian Sagal November 23, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Stacie, Patty, I am pretty sure it is inappropriate to tell people they are out of their mind. Beyond that, anyone who has helped out the many non-profits and youth groups in town knows that many depend on the revenues from their booths for their annual programs. If there is no carnival, then there will be far fewer people to buy from the vendors. It is not just about the fun of the carnival (where the kids will be devastated) but also the way that out of towners help to bolster the coffers of these many fine groups.
Karl Ian Sagal November 23, 2011 at 03:43 AM
All that said, I do agree that the carnival for the next several years is not the primary reason that anyone should vote for or against this $87 mil project.
sssull November 23, 2011 at 01:28 PM
I have been trying to come up with some other location for the fireworks 4th activities and I can not. Just to say somewhere else is not good enough, to me anyway. I think this is an issue. And I think people will regret going forward with the high school in this location if it happens. There is a better plan out there, and over all it will save money. I guess this is where I have problems with the project, why is the current location the preferred? I read the reasons and they are biased, and wrong quite frankly, typical from a town report. Consultants will say what you pay them to say and that is clear in the preferred location report. It reminds me of the library report. The farm is the solution. If people are insisting on a new high school the farm is the better option, not this project. I know it is hard to admit but if people put on their analytical caps, have an open mind, then they will come to the same conclusion.
Steven McGinley November 23, 2011 at 03:56 PM
sssull, I agree, and I've been thinking why would they shoehorn the new school on the north end of the site having to tear down the gymnasium, lose all the parking, and I'm guessing most likely the tennis courts ,when they could've easily built in the back of the building. The only thing I can come up with is that oil spill is a real issue and to build the school near it would open up a can of worms they would rather just cap.
Steven McGinley November 23, 2011 at 04:05 PM
And whoever responded that the farmers market is being held where the Swain school used to stand and that that extra space could be used. Respectfully you are mistaken. The farmers market is held on the front lawn of what used to be the Swain and it's always been there. The footprint of the Swain school was relatively small. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, Go Wilmington
Frank West November 24, 2011 at 02:16 AM
Daniel- Question for you and PLEASE be specific. When did I say "(I am) more concerned about the 4th of July fireworks and the carnival for all the Lowell riff raff more than a decent High School for our kids?" Please provide a direct quote or apology.
Steven McGinley December 19, 2011 at 10:35 PM
So even though most of the feedback I observed about spending $1,000,000 on artificial turf was negative or against I was told that it's in the plan that was approved. I think you all know by now how I feel about how this process went.


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