School Committee, Council Request City Resubmit Proposal for Burncoat High Renovation

 by Tom MarinoJanuary 21, 2023
Last Updated January 21, 2023 7:11 AM

WORCESTER - The City Council is supporting a request from the Worcester School Committee asking City Manager Eric Batista to resubmit an application for the renovation of Burncoat High School.

Last week, the School Committee voted unanimously to approve a request to the city administration to file another Statement of Interest with the Massachusetts School Building Authority for a major renovation or replacement for Burncoat High.

At the Jan. 24 meeting, the City Council will review and approve the request to resubmit an application to the MSBA.

The MSBA has previously denied the City's request for consideration in February 2022 and December 2022.

In April 2022, former City Manager Edward Augustus advised the City Council that replacing Burncoat High School would likely have to include Burncoat Middle School and the project would likely cost the city around $370 million.

Augustus said the conservative estimate to replace the schools would be around $500 million and the City of Worcester would be expected to cover at least 50% of the cost. Borrowing roughly $250 million would result in an annual debt payment of about $14 million per year.

In FY21, the city paid nearly $17 million in annual debt services on school-based projects, which didn't include the cost of the new South High Community School or new Doherty Memorial High School.

If the City were to replace Burncoat High School, it would be Worcester's fifth high school replacement project in under 30 years.

The current Burncoat High School building opened in 1964.

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