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MSBA approves of Milford High as next building project

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has approved Milford’s request to start planning for a new high school building. The current MHS was built in 1971. Photo credit: Theresa Knapp

By Scott Calzolaio
A public hearing hosted by Milford High School officials took place the night of April 22, to discuss the recent approval from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to begin planning a new high school building.
A statement of interest was submitted to the MSBA in 2022, 2023, and again this year. After two rejections from the state-run organization, the third time proved to be a charm, said Milford Schools Superintendent Kevin McIntyre.
They have now entered a nine-step eligibility period, where school officials have a little less than a year to complete the MSBA’s checklist.
Officials will organize a School Building Committee to oversee the process. From there, enrollment projections, educational profile surveys, public meetings, feasibility studies, and local votes will all play a part in getting the high school built.
There is no official timeline or budget available at this time.
The process really started about eight years ago, when the Woodland School building was completed, McIntyre said. When looking at all of the older school buildings, the conclusion was that the high school was the next logical option for a do-over. The current Milford High School was built in 1971. McIntyre said the aging infrastructure, lack of necessary appropriate classroom space, and overall design of the building does not meet the requirements of current educational needs.
“We have a lot of different needs today than we did when the building was built in the 1970s,” he said. “Education was very different. We've adapted a lot of spaces to meet kind of current educational needs, but we're fitting a lot of square pegs in round holes.”
There are limited options as to where the new building would go. McIntyre said it is most likely to be built on the grounds of the current school, but maybe not in the exact location. 
School Committee Chair Matthew Zacchilli recently took a tour of Attleboro High School, a building that was erected just a year ago. He took a minute to discuss what Milford High School truly is for the town - a community center. 
On his tour in Attleboro, he said he saw exactly what he imagines for Milford.
“Their high school wasn't just what they called an educational hub, but it was a spot that was a catalyst for growth empowerment and unity in their community,” Zacchilli said. “It was something that brought a lot of pride and belief in their students and in their faculty alike.”
The Attleboro High School, he said, was made to be “a centerpiece for the entire community and for the entire educational platform,” he said. “I'm personally excited to explore the possibilities that we have with a project like this.”
Milford High School Principal Joshua Otlin echoed his remarks.
“There's a recognition that Milford High School is much more than a high school,” Otlin said. “We want to make sure that, in the future, Milford High School not only remains a community center, but is even a more robust community center than it presently is.”
Otlin pointed out that the high school is used by the community every day in some way for between 10 to 15 hours. This, he said, really makes it a central hub for the community.
When the meeting opened up for public commentary, the most common suggestion was to make room in the budget for a fieldhouse or an indoor track.

The MSBA [Massachusetts School Building Authority]  partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public school facilities. Since its 2004 inception, the Authority has approved 1,027 projects and has made over $16.7 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects across the Commonwealth.