Buzz In-Depth | School Buildings Across Burlington
This is one in a series of in-depth explainers about issues affecting the town of Burlington. To receive future installments, please sign up for a $60 annual hive membership.
Burlington’s school buildings are top of mind in 2023 as the town decides how to proceed with its three oldest facilities to ensure its buildings are adequately serving the district’s 3,200 students. Now that the town has the potential to gain millions of dollars of state subsidies for one or two of the town’s elementary schools, the possibility of bringing others up to date is provoking much discussion, and the outcomes of these conversations will affect everyone living here for the next several decades—even those who don’t have children in the schools at the moment.
In this Buzz In-Depth, you can read more about:
Community Meetings and Updates
The History of School Buildings in Burlington
School Buildings have been a topic of conversation around Burlington since even before the town was incorporated in 1799. In the late 1700s, the town began erecting buildings to meet the educational needs of Burlington’s children.
Like many towns of the area, Burlington started out by building a one-room schoolhouse at each corner of the compass. Eventually, demand grew for a school to serve students living in the middle of town, and the Center School was built in the mid-1800s. In 1898, the one-room schoolhouses were consolidated into a single Union School building, which housed all the town’s primary students, at the corner of Center and Sears Streets. This building now houses the police station.
Burlington began feeling the need for an elementary school expansion in the post-WWII era. New elementary schools were built in the 50s and 60s:
1954: Memorial (Rebuilt in 2011)
1956: Wildwood (Closed in 1996; now the site of the Wildwood playground)
1959: Meadowbrook (Closed in 1980)
1962: Pine Glen
1967: Fox Hill
1968 (Renovated in 1996): Francis Wyman. This was originally a junior high, and then a middle school. After that, the building was leased by outside organizations before reopening in 1996 as an elementary school.
None of the original schoolhouses is still standing in its original form today, but the relocated West School (moved from the Simonds Park area when the Center School was built) can still be seen at the corner of Francis Wyman and Bedford Streets. The North School is now a private residence, and the Center School houses the Burlington Historical Museum.
Middle Schools/Junior High School
As mentioned, the Francis Wyman School used to be a junior high. In 1973, with the opening of BHS on Cambridge Street, both Francis Wyman and Marshall Simonds became middle schools. Currently, Marshall Simonds is the only middle school; it was renovated in 2012.
A high school wasn’t built in Burlington until 1939. Before that, the town’s high schoolers were educated in neighboring towns. One by one, however, they filled to the point of not being able to accept Burlington students. The first high school sat in the space that now houses the Human Services Building at 61 Center Street; in 1961, a new high school opened on Winn Street. And finally, in 1973, the current high school building was built at 123 Cambridge Street.
(Thanks to Wayne Higden and Judy Wasserman via Wicked Local for helping out with this.)