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Editorials and Opinions

Opposing Viewpoints: North benefits the city

By Sandy Shen
Published: June 2010

197.5 million dollars. Almost one-fifth of a billion dollars have been spent on the reconstruction of Newton North High School. Is it worth it? Yes indeed.

The new building may be, indeed, a little excessive, but it provides solutions for many of the problems with the old school. Not only was the building extremely decrepit and run-down, but there were huge issues with energy efficiency. The HVAC system never worked well. The temperature fluctuations in between adjacent rooms could be compared to the differences of that between deserts and the arctic tundra.

Also, the basic design and layout was not conductive to optimal learning; the odd turns and disorganization within the corridors provided an environment that was detrimental to the fundamental needs of a normal high school.

North has, for a very long time, needed to be replaced. The first building was established in 1898, over 100 years ago, and has received little care or modification since.

In contrast, South was only opened in 1960, and has already been renovated once since then. The construction of the new North building is a welcome and much needed improvement to the dilapidated, crumbling old building. It features a brand new pool, an environmentally friendly energy system, and a trendy zigzagged architectural plan.

It plans on making every classroom accessible to natural light, and also features a two-level auditorium with carpeted seating and a balcony. Additionally, the main entrance will still be located on Walnut Street, but will be more extravagant and impressive.

While the features seem to be a tremendous misuse of much needed school funding, the money saved from the new energy-efficient features will more than make up for the spending in 50 years or less. The all-brick exterior provides more insulation, which saves money on heating and air conditioning and the energy efficient lighting will save additional thousands per year.

More so than the practical use of citizens’ taxes, however, comes a sense of pride and accomplishment at creating literally the most expensive high school in Massachusetts. North will be known throughout Massachusetts as one of the most architecturally creative and technologically forward high schools in New England.

The North students have, for too long, undeniably been using the city’s worse school in terms of building condition. The students deserve to get an upgrade, both for the sake of comfort and educational practicality. The new building provides a much better learning environment, and will be surrounded with newer, more usable athletic facilities. The overall result of the increased academic and athletic stimulation will lead to students achieving more, and an overall rise in Newton’s academic reputation.

The reconstruction of North was inevitable. The old building was much too horrid to continue using. As long as the school was going to be rebuilt (the School Committee determined that it would cost even more to continue to renovate it over a series of years), the best option would be to go all-out and spend millions at once. The school is a great investment for the future, and utilizes the latest technology in energy use, saving the city thousands of thousands of dollars as the years go on.

Now that the construction is pretty much over, one can see that the new school is truly impressive, and a worthwhile use of the city’s somewhat lacking funds.

While the reconstruction is currently extremely controversial, in a few years all of the complaints will completely blow over, and people will merely appreciate the resplendence of the new North building. After all, it is pretty awesome. To be honest, many of us South students are just jealous of it.

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