BURLINGTON, Vt. – Burlington High School’s temporary home in the city’s downtown was officially opened for students Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
PCB contamination at Burlington High School forced students and staff to move, and in a span of ten weeks, the former Macy’s building on Cherry Street was converted into a school with 60 temporary classrooms.
Superintendent Tom Flanagan said he’s happy with how the makeover came together, especially considering the short timeline and the scale of the project.
It has most of the amenities of a typical school building, including a makeshift cafeteria, science labs and a library.
Early on in the process, there were still many reminders of the building’s previous purpose, and while some of them remain (including Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors signs), Flanagan said it’s a learning space to be proud of.
“It is amazing to think we are standing in what used to be a department store,” Flanagan said. “That we’re greeting people where we used to buy winter coats, reading books where they once sold fine china, taking phone calls in converted changing rooms, and it’s even more impressive that outside of some relics like our escalator here behind us, it’s kind of hard to tell.”
The project came at a price tag of $3.5 million, but the state is helping with the cost.