Reading, MA — Despite a small turnout of 3.75%, Reading voters, by a vote of 665 to 83, joined eleven other communities to support the construction of a $317,422,620 new building for the Northeast Metro Technical School on Tuesday. Reading Town Meeting voted 165-4 on November 8 to approve the new building.
Superintendent David DiBarri shared, “We are deeply grateful to the voters in our twelve sending communities for their participation in today’s vote, their collective support of a new school building, and for securing a vision for a 21st-century career technical education that will position our students for success after graduation.”
Di Barri continued, “Input from the Northeast community has been an integral part of this process. School officials, construction experts, and School Committee and Building Committee members from all twelve communities worked diligently to create a proposal that reflects that community feedback and respects the cost to taxpayers.”
“Our work is just beginning. We welcome community feedback as we refine this project and look forward to the day we celebrate a new chapter for Northeast Metro Tech.”
The Massachusetts School Building Authority has already committed just over $140 million to the project. Reading’s share of the remaining cost is estimated to be $4,548,660 after the Massachusetts School Building Authority reimbursement. Town Manager Robert LeLacheur shared that this would break down to between $200,000 and $250,000 annually for the length of the bond. Currently, 33 Reading students attend the school.
According to DiBarri, “the life of our current building is coming to an end” and has failing systems, undersized shops and classrooms, and poor ADA accessibility. DiBarri also reported that the school turns away over 500 applicants annually. The building update will include an expansion that would allow the school to accommodate 1,600 students, 400 more than just over 1,200 students currently enrolled. The new building is expected to be completed in 2026.