WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

WESTFIELD — School Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski said at a Jan. 9 meeting that he hopes to submit a statement of interest to build one “comprehensive” high school in Westfield.

“My belief is to try to get one school,” he said.

The school would replace both Westfield High School, built in 1973, and Westfield Technical Academy, parts of which date to 1931. He said rebuilding two separate high schools would cost an estimated $590 million. A comprehensive school would reduce costs to the city overall, and allow the district to combine resources while providing more opportunities for students, Czaporowski said.

Czaporowski told the School Committee that currently there are 1,000 students at WHS, and 560 at WTA, both of which are under capacity.

He cautioned that it may take several attempts to convince the Massachusetts School Building Authority to contribute state reimbursement funds to the project. He said although WHS is 50 years old this year, there are buildings across the state that are in far worse shape.

“If you’ve been to WHS lately, it doesn’t look as bad as people say,” he said, adding that when he went to the holiday concerts, it was sparkling.

He talked about some of the recent investments made in the high school building, including $500,000 to replace the roof over the gym and locker room a few years ago; $900,000 to repair the swimming pool; $100,000 to upgrade the exterior of the parking lot; $200,000 to replace the exterior doors, $10,000 for a new carpet and counter in the main office and guidance suite, another $10,000 for new carpeting and sound system in the auditorium; and the $1 million earmark from state Sen. John Velis (D-Westfield) that will be used to upgrade the science labs.

He said with the significant investments the School Department has made, he is not sure WHS would qualify for a new high school. But WTA, with an upper campus built in 1931 and lower campus in 1962, probably would.

“I think building one school will make the project possible,” Czaporowski said. “The other benefit would be to save money on staff instead of dividing our resources, and to provide more opportunities for students.”

He said the state wants the district to expand its technical opportunities for students.

After an MSBA roundtable meeting for superintendents, the next step will be for Czaporowski and other school administrators to meet with the Westfield School Committee’s facilities subcommittee. The proposal would eventually need School Committee and City Council approval before a formal request is made to the state.

amyporter@thewestfieldnews.com | + posts