Old Colony renovation project in first stages

Jan 11, 2023

ROCHESTER — Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School is in need of renovation, said school superintendent-director Aaron Polansky. 

“We've identified that a building that was built in 1975, while in decent shape, has definitely got some bones to it that you don't see that are in need of some significant repair,” said Polansky, referring to the main Old Colony campus. 

In March, the Massachusetts School Building Authority accepted the school into an eligibility period that would begin Oct. 3 and could potentially end with a new or renovated building.

As a part of the eligibility period the school submitted information on topics including current and proposed educational facilities, teaching methods, grade configurations and current and potential future educational program offerings.

According to Polansky, the school designated members of a building committee that include officials from Old Colony’s member towns: Mattapoisett, Rochester, Acushnet, Carver and Lakeville. 

“We've done that very intentionally,” said Polansky, who added that committee members provide the school with a “direct connection” to each town.  

According to a report provided by the school, the building committee has identified several areas of the school building in need of evaluation: brick and walls, windows, doors, flooring, ceilings, lockers and storage, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues, plumbing, classroom space and more.

Polansky said a feasibility study is estimated to cost the school $1 million. Old Colony is prepared to put $500,000 toward the study but wants its member towns to contribute to the fund based on each town’s enrollment numbers. 

Once the school identifies how many students from each member town attends Old Colony, they can “finalize the formula” that would determine each town’s contribution to the feasibility study.

One problem that Polansky hopes to address through the proposed renovations is inadequate infrastructure that makes it hard to offer more classes in more trades like plumbing, HVAC, dental assistance or even biotechnology. 

“There's an opportunity gap, and plumbing is one of those gaps,” said Polansky. “I can't tell you how many people call me from the unions.They'll say, ‘do you have any plumbers?’ and we say we don't have a plumbing program because we can't put it anywhere.”

Before any renovations can take place, proposed town contributions to Old Colony must go through a town meeting vote like any other budgetary proposal.

“To see it come to fruition would be a very special thing,” said Polansky. “And the things we'd be able to do, we're talking about exponential growth, that's important.”