Wilmington residents were asked if they approved of a new high school. On Saturday, , and .
By a count of 1,426-31, the $82 million project was approved at Special Town Meeting. The session started about one hour late because there were so many residents in line waiting to check in. This was a stark contrast to this spring’s Annual Town Meeting, which started late because there were not enough residents to vote.
“The turnout today was amazing,” said Superintendent of Schools Joanne Benton. “To see the line out to Church Street, I will never forget that image.”
Town Clerk Sharon George said she estimated there were about 1,475 voters in attendance. The crowd in the gym was so large that the auditorium needed to be used as a satellite area.
“I look forward to the day when the school’s auditorium is better equipped to hold this kind of crowd,” said selectman Michael Newhouse to residents while addressing the proposal.
When the “Yes” voters stood, it was clear immediately that the school would pass. After Town Moderator Jim Stewart called for those residents to stand, a stirring ovation broke out throughout the room.
“It shows the passion that this town has for its children,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Louis Cimaglia. “I think the vote is a statement vote letting people know that Wilmington really cares for its youth.”
Town Manager Michael Caira told Patch after the vote that he will retire next fall, and added that there is no doubt in his mind what moment will most stand out from his career in town.
“The fact that (residents voted) and did it so loudly and so clearly I think speaks volumes about the community,” said Caira. “I can think of a lot of memorable and gratifying moments in my career, but I don’t think any of them top this one.”