Lynch Receives State Grant to Improve Walpole School System


Julia Sandquist

money bagsAt a recent School Committee meeting on March 24, Superintendent Lincoln Lynch announced that Walpole will be presented a state grant of $30,000 on April 28 to improve its school system.

The grant proposal was submitted by Town Administrator James Johnson, and it is part of a program funded by the state to help towns with long-term building repair and replacement plans for town buildings.

In 2012, the town funded a study conducted by Maguire Group Inc., which created a facilities master plan to inform citizens about all town buildings, their current state of repair, and their ability to meet the needs required of town departments.

All the school buildings are considered town buildings, so a grant to look at the educational space needs of school buildings qualified under the grant guidelines. As a result, the $30K grant money is expected to be specifically for the school system and will be used to combine the Maguire report with future enrollment projections and education plans.

Currently, the age of the Bird and  Johnson Middle Schools is not adequate to fit the needs of  the students and, while the high school was renovated 15 years ago, it has become too small for its growing population of students. To solve this problem, the Walpole School Committee submitted a proposal to the Massachusetts State Building Authority (MSBA) to build a new high school and combine the Bird and Johnson Middle Schools and move these middle school students into the old high school. If the MSBA accepts the town’s proposal, the $30K will allow the town to conduct more extensive research into the building plans for the new schools and the current feasibility of the three buildings.

Principal Imbusch stressed the need of more space for high school students to expand the school’s academic and extracurricular programs. He hopes that MSBA will accept the proposal so that the town can use the $30K to research the plans for a new high school.

Imbusch said, “We need more spaces in our school that are conducive to learning. We also have extraordinary extracurriculars at Walpole High, which allow students to have conversations about real life things outside classroom. I want to be able to expand these programs in order to give students valuable life skills and memories of high school they will never forget.”