Burlington, VT– It’s out with the old and in with the new as the Burlington School District broke ground Wednesday on a new high school.

The new school at 52 Institute Road will replace the building shut down in September 2020 after harmful PCB’s were found inside, sparking a lawsuit against the manufacturer, Monsanto.

The construction cost of the new school is estimated at $190 million, with voters approving a $165 million bond.

BHS senior Cecily Spence was a freshman when the old school was closed. “It was shocking, I had pictured myself here for four years, this is where I thought I would graduate, I kind of had my heart set on that,” she says. “It was a little sad, too, I did like this building.”

“I want to thank the citizens of Burlington for getting us here today by overwhelmingly supporting our November bond project for this building,” says BSD Superintendent Tom Flanagan. “As we move forward from conceptual plans to reality, I am so happy to have the support of all of you to build a school that will support equity, inclusion and deep learning for all.”

Mayor Miro Weinberger says future generations of students are vital to the community. “This is a building where our youngest Burlingtonians are going to spend a crucial period of their lives, this is the generation that is confronting great challenges,” Weinberger said.

Officials made note that the old BHS was slowly falling apart, but it will still be missed.

“We miss all the good stuff, all the good stuff that gives this rite of passage that we call high school, meaning,” says Beth Fialko Casey, the president of the Burlington Education Association, and a teacher at BHS.

Students and teachers are now in the old Macy’s on Cherry Street, now known as Downtown BHS. Spence says in the past three years, they’ve quickly built a community.

“I think that having a high school is really, really important. So, I look at my younger neighbors and family members, and I’m really excited that they’ll have a beautiful new school to go to,” she said.

Demolition work is under way inside the old building. The team from Envirovantage will be marking hazardous materials for removal before the old building comes down and the new one can go up.