Districts working to repair, replace aging schools

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – More than half of public schools across the country are in need of repair, and getting them in good condition would cost close to $200 billion.

The average school buildings in the United States are 44 years old, and here in the Pioneer Valley, they are slightly older than that.

Upgrades are happening, though. Seventeen percent of U.S. schools have renovations underway, and more than twice that many have plans for repairs within the next two years.

Recent and current Springfield projects include the new Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, a science wing at Central High School, a new Brookings School and renovations at the Dreyden Memorial School. Springfield Public Schools spokesperson Azell Cavaan told 22News that they have been working closely with the state to make updates.

“We are fortunate enough to have established a good relationship with the Massachusetts School Building Authority. They’re a government agency that was created about 10 years ago to specifically address the issue of school building renovation and the status of school buildings,” Cavaan said.

Longmeadow is another community that has made improvements. They unveiled their new high school last year.

Parent John Bresnahan told 22News that the old high school had major structural issues, and he is not surprised a lot of other schools across the country are faced with the same problems.

“They were built in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and the infrastructure and technology has changed so much. I’m sure they need a lot of repair, Internet access, and new techniques for teaching to be up with the times,” Bresnahan said.

Cavaan told 22News that since the agency was created, the Massachusetts School Building Authority has poured $10 billion into schools across the state.

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