Board: Old electrical system, roof of East Longmeadow H.S. a real problem

Hampden County

For the sixth time, East Longmeadow is applying for state funding to replace their nearly 60-year-old high school building. 

The school was built in 1960 and hasn’t been renovated since 1975. The school board said the aging electrical system and roof have become real problems. 

East Longmeadow this week asked the Massachusetts School Building Authority to be considered for their CORE program, to help cover the cost of a comprehensive renovation of the High School or build an entirely new one.  

If selected, the state would reimburse 55 percent of construction costs. School Committee Chair Richard Freccero said time has taken a toll on the building’s infrastructure. 

“Our plumbing, our roof, our boilers are all just decaying because of age,” Freccero told 22News. 

He added that the school’s electrical system can’t keep up. 

“We don’t have the electrical structure for technology anymore,” Freccero added. “In fact, our DPW department head told us, if we lose a certain part, we’d have to shut down this school for two to four weeks.” 

High school Spanish teacher Bonnie Rivera said it would be hard to make up that much time off, putting graduation requirements in jeopardy. 

“Oh absolutely, just a day just to miss for a day we would be off track for sure,” said Rivera. 

This marks the sixth time the school has applied to the MSBA program, but the school committee noted Westfield had to apply 12 times. With a projected cost of $120 million to rebuild or replace, even with a 55 percent reimbursement, the cost is still a concern. 

“I think there does have to be a balance between what we’re spending, what we expect for the state to put in for spending as well, and what it is the kids are really going to benefit from,” said Betsy Sheehan of East Longmeadow. 

Only about a dozen schools were accepted to the program in 2018. 

East Longmeadow won’t hear back until December. 

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