City Councilor Dan Rourke shared the following message about the new Lowell High School:
Everyone Benefits from a New High School
By Dan Rourke
The past few months have been the most engaging, debatable, sometimes frustrating, and by far and away is becoming the most contentious time during my short term on the City Council.
Lowell is very fortunate to have been selected to be part of the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) list of applicants for a new educational facility. This is an opportunity for the city to have the majority of the costs for a new high school paid for by the state, and that amount is no small number. The MSBA will be paying upwards of 180 – 200 million dollars towards a new Lowell High. This is an opportunity that we as a city cannot let go to waste. Out of this opportunity, the location of the new school has become the vocal point of any and all discussion. It has virtually dominated social media for any Lowell resident with a Facebook account.
There are a number of options and only two locations left in the process. The first location is the current Downtown site. Proponents of the current location state the need to keep the school centralized, it’s beneficial for walkers, and the close proximity to institutions of higher learning are all highlighted. Those in favor of relocating the school next to Cawley Stadium reason that a campus lifestyle, ability to build from the ground up and no disruption to the learning environment for students over the next five years as their main factors in moving from its current site. Both sides state their case with passion, with intensity and with emotion. The common bond that people on both sides share is that we all want what is best for the students.
Now opinions may differ and as in most political battles, people state their case with conviction and fervor. My hope is we can keep the discussion and argument for either location civil and respectful. At the end of the day, Lowell will be getting what we are in most need for, a new high school. Arguments can be made that accentuate the positives of a preferred location that can best help students succeed. I, like many Lowell residents, have a preferred location. What is important is that no matter where the location ends up or how we pay for it, everyone in Lowell will be making a contribution to the new school, whether you have children or not. Your neighbor’s opinion matters just as much as yours, just as much as someone that lives in the Highlands, the Acre, Pawtucketville or Belvidere. Whatever reason a Lowell resident has for wanting it Downtown or at Cawley is a valid one and should be respected . At the end of this process, we will all benefit from having a first class learning institution for our children to obtain a first class education.