On November 6th, the town will come together in a critical meeting that will determine the future of the Sharon’s attempts to get money from the state to renovate or build a new Sharon High School building. It is important that all Sharon students exercise their right to come and support an issue that affects them directly. The Talon firmly believes that Sharon High School simply needs to be updated and it is long past the time to do so.
All information and arguments towards a new building can be found on Sharon High School’s webpage. This information strongly suggests that SHS is an outdated building that is lacking on MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) requirements. Town officials submitted a statement of interest to get funding from the state for a new school building last year, along with around 90 other schools, and Sharon was whittled down to one of the 17 schools that the state strongly believed needed assistance.
The statement of interest discussed several glaring weaknesses in the building that fell behind on MSBA regulations. The school, originally built for a capacity of 950 students, now hosts over 1,100 students, with projections stating that the school will be holding over 1300 students in a few years. Several hallways are too narrow and create congestions in student traffic during passing time. The cafeteria is very undersized, which results in students having to sit on radiators or in hallways against the wall to eat lunch.
Classrooms serve as home base to two or three teachers, and teachers constantly have to revolve around throughout the day because of the insufficient number of rooms. Some of the science classrooms, a larger size because of the needs to add laboratory space, are in fact the results of ripping walls between two classrooms to create a larger one.
The school is also largely affected by extreme weather. Despite having recent roof renovations, heavy rain can still result in leaks throughout the building. The singular boiler in the school only covers 80 percent of the school, and struggles to regulate the temperature in the bitter New England winter.
On top of that, some aspects of the school don’t comply with ADA standards, which concern students with disabilities. There is only one way to access the auditorium for students with mobility issues, and several of the doors leading to classrooms swing in a non-ADA compliant fashion.
Some concerns with a new school building are the inevitable increase of taxes for a town with already higher than average taxes. The fact of the matter is, with the financial aid the state is offering the town, building a new school will never be cheaper. The feasibility study, which will cost 2.4 million dollars alone, will also not raise taxes. Dr. Libano compared the school building project to Stoughton High School’s similar venture, where they received 50 million dollars from the state for a 120 million dollar project. “Any project is going to cost money. Either [vote for] it and get 50 million [dollars] towards it, or you spend the whole 120 million.”
Sharon High School needs a new school building. It’s critical that we support this project and get money towards it, instead of not supporting the project and spending way more money down the road. On November 6th, come out and support the cause. The school needs it.