Tsongas, Meehan & Donoghue For Lowell High Downtown

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan, and State Senator Eileen M. Donoghue have jointly released the following statement about the selection of the site of a new Lowell High School.

Downtown Site is Most Appropriate Choice

By Niki Tsongas, Marty Meehan & Eileen Donoghue

As public servants and private citizens, we have witnessed Lowell successfully reinvent itself as a livable and resilient city. As a community, Lowell cannot take for granted the innovative approaches to urban challenges that have enabled such stunning progress.

In order to ensure Lowell’s future success and vitality, citizens must be able to acquire the skills needed to thrive in our knowledge-based economy. As everyone in this city agrees, a modern high school is key to achieving that goal. A high school that can better facilitate modern learning will benefit this community and its young people for years to come.

Accordingly, we appreciate the thoughtful debate around whether or not to move the location of the high school as the city seeks to make the improvements necessary to meet the needs of an economically and culturally diverse student body. This engaged public discourse reflects a shared commitment to realizing the long-term vision for the city’s revitalization and prosperity.

We have listened closely to all sides of this discussion and while proponents of the Cawley option have laid out some worthy reasons in support of moving the location of the high school, we believe the downtown site is the most appropriate and cost-effective choice.

Today, as it has been historically, Lowell High is centrally located with generally equidistant access for students across the city’s many neighborhoods. From the high school, any student can walk to UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College along with Pollard Memorial Library, museums, arts organizations, Merrimack Repertory Theater, Lowell Community Health Center, and Lowell’s National Historical Park. This close proximity exposes students to a diverse array of expanded educational activities including internships, work programs and educational partnerships that would be harder to facilitate in a suburban setting.

Programs often key to successful completion of high school provided by UTEC, the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, the Boys and Girls Club, YouthBuild and many others, are more universally accessible from a downtown high school. Maintaining – for all students – access to both the school and to these important supplemental resources and opportunities must remain paramount so that every student is best positioned to realize his or her potential.

Furthermore, a downtown site is more fiscally responsible. With the state assuming a higher share, a downtown option is less of a burden to taxpayers and to the city. Additionally, a downtown site negates the need for added bussing costs and infrastructure investments, which would be required to transport kids to a Cawley site.

Lowell has proudly met the challenges of a changing economy with innovation and ingenuity and our city has a history of revitalizing old structures for a new century. The city makes beautiful, functional spaces that become sources of great pride and we have no doubt the downtown plan would result in a peerless, state-of-the-art educational facility that embraces its unique urban environment. Lowell High School could be the best urban high school in the state – but that will require a commitment to embracing Lowell’s urban identity.

We believe that a downtown site is not only the option that is most compatible with the city’s current needs, but also the most forward-looking option—one that will sustain the Lowell renaissance that began nearly 50 years ago. Downtown would be the most accessible, equitable, and transformative choice for the city and for generations of Lowell students to come.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, 3rd Congressional District
President Martin T. Meehan, University of Massachusetts
State Senator Eileen M. Donoghue, First Middlesex District

23 Responses to Tsongas, Meehan & Donoghue For Lowell High Downtown

  1. Marie says:

    I agree that a downtown site for the high school is best, and you listed all the same reasons that I had on my mind. If it had been moved to the Crowley stadium it would have also snarled the traffic even more on route 38. I’m glad that Lowell High School will stay down town.

  2. Barbara says:

    Three generations of my family are graduates of LHS, and it has served us well. I believe the high school should stay downtown. Relocating the school and bussing students to one far corner of the City is not fair to the residents of Lowell. I hope our City Counsel takes your opinions to heart, and keep LHS downdown by supporting Option 3. Thank you.


    To consider Cawley, we need to really address busing, infrastructure, and traffic. We haven’t heard any serious solutions to these challenges from Cawley supporters.

  4. Patricia Noyes says:

    I graduated from Lowell high in 1972! PLEASE leave the historical school WHERE IT IS. …just do interior upgrades!
    WHY CAN’T you preserve the past while incorporating the future???

  5. Mary Jo Brown says:

    This is so well stated, and summarizes many of the most important decision points. We are fortunate to have Tsongas, Meehan and Donoghue as leaders in our community. Thank you.

  6. Patti says:

    I am so glad my daughter goes to GLTHS and does not have to step one foot into that pit you call a High School. I feel really bad for the future young children of Lowell. That building will never be worthy of them

  7. Greg says:

    Again, a huge nonsense article by the elite who because of there position can help force people who can’t think on their own.
    Did they basically say that the downtown needs the kids there to teach them how to make a
    Thriving downtown? Or that they actually walk nor use any of the things listed. Why don’t you list the % of kids who do so that the numbers become real? The percents are tiny and that’s the truth. More truth, the city regularly waste money on a daily basis as their city works drive around in their white tucks doing as they please. Such as sleeeping at Parks behind wang school, leave city limits and have extended lunch at primos in dracut, by nips at convenace stores and chug in parking lot. I saw a street sweeper yesterday day out of his truck and talking with his buddy in a driveway, drove by 15 minutes later to see him still talking. I’m glad as a tax payer I paid him for that conversation. Don’t tell me he was on lunch either it was 9:10am. These are just a solid handful of regular waste. Thank you Dick for helping spread your one sided nonsense of keeping the school downtown based on history and nostalgia. All these people talking way up in the todempole are in there 60’s, sorry not to be morbid, but they are all on the end of their life cycle. Most likely they have 20 or so years left, if it stays downtown at least they may be around to see that they wasted money in their downtown push as the high school will be asking again for more renovation money just like it is now, after a failed Renovation project from 17! Years ago. Dick I enjoy most of your work, but just because this is what your daddy would of wanted still does not make it right. Stop promoting this false propaganda.
    God we have the chance to be on our country’s stage as we can possibly build the best school in the country but because of nostalgia we want to fall flat on our face.
    In the day and age of Facebook we can learn a lot. We can see that the people who really care have signed up to view and talk about all the information regularly. How can almost 10,000 supporters be wrong? How come the downtown supporters barley have 1000 people, most of which support cawley but are there to monitor false info? Get real, 106,000 people in Lowell, apx 15,000 even care about this project, most of which want it at Cawley.

  8. Shaun Cremin says:

    I respectfully disagree. It is time to look into the future for our children, all the future high schoolers . Build a new school and they will come. Lowell high will not lose its diverse uniqueness by moving it out of downtown. Let’s be bold and try a new state of the art school at Cawley site. Reinvent the downtown with the 1922 building and utilize new green space from tearing down the Lord building and fieldhouse. Please invest my hard earned tax dollars wisely, that being a brand new high school. Thankyou for your time.

  9. Pamela Simpkins says:

    My husband and I live in Lowell, pay taxes in Lowell, vote in Lowell and want the best for the children of Lowell. We agree that LHS should remain in its centrally located downtown space.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So clearly you do NOT have the best interest of the students in mind. Very disappointed! The people of Lowell should be able to vote on this issue. At least we will be able to vote during the re-election! Good luck sustaining the Lowell Renaissance.

  11. Joe Boyle says:

    A-men! Real leadership from real leaders. Look what embracing our urban identity has done for this city over the pst two decades; we’d be fools to abandon that creed now.

    If I wanted my kids to go to a suburban high school, I would have moved to Westford.

  12. Patti Kirwin-Keilty says:

    Thank you for posting this piece Dick.
    These 3 individuals represent leadership & Vision in our community.

    A great deal of thanks for taking the time to share their thoughts in regards to this extremely important project in our City!

  13. Mary D. Neylon says:

    Well stated. Lowell is an urban community with a proud history. We should continue to build on the riches it offers.

  14. Helen Littlefield says:

    Thank you for posting this letter, Dick, as I understand that the Sun would not print it.

    To Marie: the decision has not been made yet; the vote is Tuesday night.

    I do agree that the high school should remain downtown for all the reasons stated in the letter from Congresswoman Tsongas, UMass President Meehan, and Senator Donoghue.

  15. Caroline A. HIggins Class of 1963 says:

    The high school should remain right where it is. Having a new school does not insure education any better than is already there. Often, the idea that it is a new school, people believe they are getting a better education, when quality education rests on its teachers, and Lowell High has graduated generations of academic excellence.

    Moving the school out of downtown would further alienate the history of the city, which is quickly leaving due to influx of college students. Keeping the school where it is, allows the students to take in the industrial atmosphere that began this great city.

    The other aspect of transportation: while some believe that it would be a simple task to increase school buses to provide transportation for distanced students, in reality, it would be a nightmare of increased cost, need for more training and experienced drivers, new buses, and possibility for accidents that is not there now.

    I am a graduate of Lowell High & the child, niece, grandchild of mill workers. My cousins, aunts, and parents also went to Lowell High. Although I do not live in the city now, I have kept up on the pulse of the city, through visits, friends, and now facebook. What should consume the interests of Lowellians is to bring back the down town to an earlier state of productivity.

    There is NOTHING a new building would offer to students. Just walking through the old building gives the students a feel of history about the building, the city, and graduates before them that will far out weigh anything that a new school could offer. Getting rid of history comes with its own cost.

    Thank you for leaving it as it is.

  16. Rob says:

    I agree… “This is so well stated.” Congratulations to the staffers who wrote it.

    Not one fresh idea. Not the least bit willing to embrace a true vision. Way to support the status quo and plunge the City into a deeper state of inertia.

    Pathetically out of touch with the future of Lowell.

    But keep lobbying the tombstone vote… All you need is another term or two in office anyways, right?

  17. Really says:

    So what I gather is there are a number of people who want to sink 350 million dollars and disrupt five years worth of learning in the name of nostalgia. Good luck with that.

  18. JefB says:

    Its nice to see Lowell turn into a college town, this has invigorated so much of downtown and with each year it seems more of the University of Lowell is reaching into downtown, why not have a first class high school right in the mix of this for all to use, just another catalyst for Lowell’s revival to continue, moving the high school almost of out town really isn’t keeping the students in the real world but hidden away, these kids will be adults in only a few years once they get to high school, lets use the space downtown to make this the best urban high school in the state! Sure, it might time some extra time but it will be worth it..

  19. Theresa says:

    I see all the reasons of why LHS should be downtown but still can’t help but disagree. This is a time of change, change is difficult,change is necessary.
    Cawley is the best, cleanest, safest,most state of the art choice.
    It will gain access to all after school sports. Give more opportunities children.

  20. LowellGuy says:

    My opinion is to have 2 high schools. The idea of one high school if you think about it is really ridiculous. That way, everybody kinda wins. Obviously…White Cawley High will be be superior academically…but it is what it is.

    If you all can’t agree to 2 high schools…then it MUST be in downtown since so many students walk and use the resources downtown. To think otherwise would be a huge disservice to the poorer half of the student population. White Belvidere will do fine either way.

  21. LowellGuy says:

    One person mention that if they wanted their kid to go to a suburban high school, they would move to Westford. This is true! Just move to Westford, Chelmsford, or wherever. It’s really no different. Lowell has a population where more than half of the kids are poor and they NEED the downtown. You don’t NEED the high school at Cawley!What are you going to do at Cawley? Now you can shop at Hannaford while you wait for your kids to get out? Kids can go to McDonald’s or maybe Marshalls? LOL!