Councilor Rourke statement on Lowell High vote

Councilor Dan Rourke gave me permission to post his statement on the Lowell High vote. He released the statement on Monday, June 12, 2017, in anticipation of taking the vote the next evening. That vote was postponed for a week and will be taken up next Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

Here’s Councilor Rourke’s statement:

The passion within the city in regards to the location of a new Lowell High School has surpassed that of any other topic in my short time as a Lowell City Councilor and also for the twenty plus years I’ve been following Lowell politics. I’d like to thank all the citizens of Lowell who have reached out and advocated for their position on what they think is best for the future of the taxpayer, the students and for the city as a whole. Valid points have been made for both locations.

In the end, the unknown in any type of Downtown renovation including costs, length of reno and most importantly, the safety of staff and students during that time is too important to ignore. The opportunity to build brand new, the opportunity for all students to have a campus atmosphere where students can learn and participate in after school activities without distraction leads to only one option for not only the future of our children, but to that of the future of Lowell.

I will be strongly supporting building a brand new learning facility at the Cawley site at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting.

The opportunity to revitalize our Downtown while providing a state of the art Lowell High School will give Lowell the best chance to make the city what we all desire it to be, a destination for others to come visit, work, live and raise a family.

The future of Lowell is up for vote tomorrow evening. My vote will be a new Lowell High School at Cawley stadium.

Once again, thank you to all who have emailed, called, texted and spoke to me in person. I am hopeful after tomorrow night’s vote on location, we can all come together as one and continue to strive to make Lowell the best city in the Commonwealth.

3 Responses to Councilor Rourke statement on Lowell High vote

  1. Fred Faust says:

    ‘One of the best cities in the Commonwealth’ …but perhaps not with the best, most active and diverse downtown. Like the demolition of the Dutton Street row houses, the Butler House – something we will live to regret and pay for ad infinitum.

  2. Karen Cirillo says:

    My response to Councilor Dan Rourke:

    Good Morning Councilor Dan Rourke,

    I have read your statement regarding your choice as to the Cawley site.
    In it you state, “In the end, the unknown in any type of Downtown renovation including costs, length of reno and most importantly, the safety of staff and students during that time is too important to ignore.” Perkins Eastman and Skanska have been very thorough in providing detailed drawings and schedule for the downtown project. This was a requirement set forth so the council members will have a clear and concise review of all the options. There are no unknown factors regarding the building itself. At the last meeting in the Senior Center, I was impressed by Skanska having laid out a logistics plan which explained how they will keep our children and teachers safe during the construction process if the downtown site was chosen. I find there is nothing unknown as to the building of the renovation project, unless you are willingly choosing to ignore the information given.

    You also state, “The opportunity to build brand new, the opportunity for all students to have a campus atmosphere where students can learn and participate in after school activities without distraction leads to only one option for not only the future of our children, but to that of the future of Lowell.” While I understand, it may seem as if the renovation project will not be brand new, that is quite the misconception. I know these buildings have gone through the “renovation” process in the past, but those in comparison were minor fixes. This is the gutting of the old to bring in the new. Each option that was proposed had to adhere to the children as the first priority. The goal of Perkins Eastman and Skanska was to produce (for all the options) a state of the art learning environment and they succeeded in this endeavor. You go on to state, “where students can learn and participate in after school activities without distraction.” This is not a true statement. Many of our high school students have after school activities in the downtown area, i.e. at the Boys and Girls club, etc.

    Your final comment in your letter is, “The opportunity to revitalize our Downtown while providing a state of the art Lowell High School will give Lowell the best chance to make the city what we all desire it to be, a destination for others to come visit, work, live and raise a family.” There is a way to revitalize our downtown and that is to make it more attractive to businesses. Using the high school and its students as a Band-Aid to the need for economic growth is not addressing the real problems facing our city. Lastly you say “Lowell High School will give Lowell the best chance to make the city what we all desire it to be, a destination for others to come visit, work, live and raise a family.” I feel that Lowell is already a wonderful destination city. I say this for many reasons, we are a beautiful, historic, urban city which is still affordable for many. We have fantastic summer events which people come from all over the country to attend. Thanks to our wonderful police department our crime has lowered substantially, so Lowell is much safer for families. I could go on.

    Let’s continue to move Lowell ahead in a positive direction as one of the foremost urban cities here in Massachusetts. The way to stay the course is to have our urban city produce intelligent, powerful, artistic, and urban young adults in the downtown location as Lowell has done since 1840.

    All of my best to you,

    Karen Cirillo

  3. Steve Lehmann says:

    Councilman

    Please show the leadership, vision and appreciation for the history of this city and keep the high school downtown.

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