Burlington parents now have a sneak peek at what their children’s new high school will look like as the Burlington School District finalized a design for the new high school and technical center.

“We’re very excited,” said Tom Flanegan, Superintendent of the Burlington School District. “We’re grateful for the community and their support. It’s gonna bring a state of the art school to the residents of Burlington for our high school and our technical center.” 

School officials had to choose from five different layouts for the new school and in the end, the School Board unanimously picked option C, the cheapest option, but it will still cost around $181 million to build. The new school will be located on Institute Road, the same location as the previous Burlington High School.

One parent shared they are happy with the plan. “The area with the buses and everything and the wide street by the school and for the parents to get in and out. It’s a great spot.”

Two years ago, the previous Burlington High School had PCB contamination. Now, students are currently working out of a former Macy’s in downtown Burlington.

“Here it’s kind of crowded. Worried my car is gonna get hit.” 

But not all parents are happy with the new layout.

[Song Lee, Burlington High School Parent]  

“I’m sad about it,” said Song Lee. “I think having downtown schools really opens up access to a lot of kids who parents can’t take them to activities. So if it’s a walkable school, then that’s like a value that I think is important.”  

Parents aren’t the only ones expressing concerns. A Mount Mansfield School Board member is concerned about the costs falling on neighboring districts who pay for their students to take classes at the Vermont Technical Center.

“The majority of students from the Burlington Technical Center come from outside Burlington. The majority of bills are paid by the schools outside Burlington.” The board member also believes the districts aren’t being heard.

“Burlington has made no effort to engage these other schools in the design of a building that will be the biggest investments in our region for generations. I think that is a mistake.”   

The School Board’s response: “We hear them loud and clear and we’ve heard them last night. It’s been a week’s worth of feedback.” 

Clare Wool, the Chairwoman of the Burlington School Board says they are doing their best to engage the community. “We were for the last week and a half at the Fletcher Free Library. Schoolboard members present with plans to be able to answer every question that everyone has whether that’s financial questions, layout questions design or timeline.” 

School officials look forward to welcoming students back into classrooms by August 2025.

Burlington community members will have the chance to approve the funding. The construction of the new school and technical center will be on the November ballot boxes in the form of a bond. Several people have already shared their thoughts on voting.

“I would vote yes, I think it’s a great idea.” 

“I think I would vote no because I really want the school to be downtown.” 

The school district hopes to see help from the federal and state governments and encourage parents to visit the Burlington School District website to learn more about the project.