Holyoke voters being asked for $54 million to replace aging middle schools

Home E Local News E Holyoke voters being asked for $54 million to replace aging middle schools
Publication Name: Daily Hampshire Gazette
Article Date: 9/28/2019
Article URL: https://www.gazettenet.com/Holyoke-debates-whether-to-build-two-new-middle-schools-28780496

HOLYOKE — When temperatures soar outside, classrooms inside William R. Peck Middle School can get even hotter.

Andrea Salvas, the assistant principal at the school, which serves students in grades four through eight, remembers seeing teachers with sweat soaking through their shirts on the first day of school this year. And her thoughts jumped to how students felt in that heat.

“The children can not engage in learning if it’s stifling in the classrooms,” Salvas said.

Salvas spoke Tuesday while giving the Gazette a tour of Peck, situated off Northampton Street near Crosier Field. The school is one of two in the district — together with H.B. Lawrence Elementary School on Cabot Street — that could be replaced if voters on Nov. 5 approve building two 550-student middle schools.

The project would receive up to $75.8 million in funding from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, but residents would have to approve a Proposition 2½ debt-exclusion override to cover the remaining $54 million estimated to fund the project. Voting “yes” would send the project to the City Council, which would vote on issuing a bond. Voting “no” would mean the city would decline the state money and wouldn’t build the new schools.

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