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Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

Millis holds community forum regarding middle and high school project

Next community forum on April 24
By Kaitlyn Richards
Student writer 
On Feb. 28, the Millis School Building Committee held its first community forum, virtually, on a potential new middle/high school building.  
The current school was built in 1960, an addition was built in 1966, and a renovation was made in 1999 though no new space was added. Officials said the current building “has a number of infrastructure and space inadequacies.”
 The project team is composed of voting members led by Planning Board Chair Richard Nichols, Vertex Companies led by project executive Jeff D’Amico, and Tappé Architects led by President Charles Hay. 
During the 45-minute presentation, the team highlighted the main concerns with the current school building. As of right now, the school needs to repair the HVAC, electrical, security, and technology systems along with the roof to ensure the safety of all students.
Nichols said, “We need to bring the school program itself up and, by making the facility better, that will help.”
In order to fix the current issues, there is the need for serious financial aid. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) will provide the town with funding if it follows one of three possible building options: renovate the school until it is up to code; add additional space while renovating the existing building; or build an entirely new school. The MSBA requires the district to explore all three options. As of right now, the school committee is expected to decide on renovation and adding an addition to the existing building, but nothing has been confirmed. If the town follows the expansion plan, the school will be renovated in a series of phases to ensure students are still able to maintain their education during renovation. If a student has a class in a construction area of the building, they will learn in a “swing space” which is a temporary building that can be removed after renovations are completed.
During the February forum, the committee assured Millis residents that a quality education is the priority for all students. The school district has created an educational plan to ensure all of the students’ needs are met and the educators are able to meet their needs. When creating this plan, there have been visioning sessions between students, faculty, and members of the Millis community. 
“The priorities that came out of the visioning sessions were around excellence and having a welcoming, inclusive, warm, inviting, and safe school environment,” said Charles Hay at the forum. “Also, collaborative learning which has become so much more mission-critical to educators in the last 20 years, and bringing in real-world examples while mentoring health and wellness.”
Hay acknowledged this is a “challenging project” because it is a “tight site.” 
While the town is still unsure which option it will choose, the urgency and necessity of repairing the school is clear.  
The next community forum will be held on April 24 at 7 p.m. in person. As of press time, the location was not yet determined. For more information, visit 

Theresa Knapp contributed to this article