Rep. Stanley writes letter to editor on siting a new high school

Dear Editor:

Planning for Waltham’s future requires foresight.  As a parent, I am extremely disappointed it has taken so long to settle on a realistically viable site for a new high school.  This episode is a glaring example of what is wrong with our local government.

Three sites were selected as the best options to build a new high school: the current location, the Stigmatine property and the Fernald property.  Two of these three locations are not viable.  The Stigmatine property is not for sale and the mayor and city council restricted new school buildings for future use on most of the Fernald land when they bought it with CPA funds in 2015.  The remainder portion has significant environmental and historic preservation challenges.  A Councillor at the time of purchase, I vocally opposed and voted against buying so much land with CPA funds and specifically cited that we may need the land to build a new high school.

Pursing the Stigmatine or Fernald property are long shots which would add years to the project which leaves the current location as the only viable option.  Not moving forward with this site will put another generation of students through sub-standard school facilities.

When my youngest child entered kindergarten, Waltham needed to renovate the high school or build a new one to meet today’s educational standards. Today, this child is a freshman at Waltham High School.  During this time our student population has risen.  Exhaustive efforts were made to design a school that best meets students needs.  Despite all of this, a new location has yet to be nailed down, which has jeopardized the $145 million in state funding.

We must move forward with the current location for the new school as it’s the only viable option. I ask for your vote for Councillor-at-Large because Waltham needs strong leadership to move us forward.

Rep. Tom Stanley