Back to School: Somerset Berkley unveils $82.3M regional high

Somerset Berkley Regional High School

Students in Somerset are getting ready to head back to class next week. And this year high school students have a brand new $82.3 million facility to use.

The old high school was built back in 1935. And on the same property is the brand new Somerset Berkley Regional High School.

Teachers, students, and district leaders can't wait to show this place off. The school opens its doors to students Tuesday.

"It's exciting, the kids are going to be like kids in a candy store like the teachers were yesterday touring the facility," said Superintendent Tom Lynch. "I think it's absolutely beautiful."

Teacher Catherine Cabral decided to keep her job longer just for the opportunity to teach in a state of the art school.

"I could have retired, I'm not retiring I'm staying to enjoy this beautiful facility," Cabral said.

"I'm up at night thinking all the artistic things we can do at the performance center with the lighting and the sound," said David Marshall, band director.

Marshall can't help but beam about the new technology, particularly the eight microphones in his classroom ceiling that can record the students as they rehearse, play back their performance and offer feedback instantaneously.

"It shows them the notes they're playing correctly and the ones they need to adjust from a rhythmic and melodic standpoint," Marshall said.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority already paid for more than $50 million in renovations. The remaining nearly $30 million will be paid for by Somerset and Berkley taxpayers over the next 20 years.

There are two reminders in Somerset of why revenue could be hard to come by; the Brayton Point Power Plant, a major economic contributor, which employs 240 people in Somerset is slated to shut down in 2017.

"It will have an impact not on the building but it could have an impact on Somerset departments as well as Somerset K-8 budget as well as the regional budget," Lynch said.

The new building regionalizes Somerset and Berkeley students. Before Berkeley students had to pay tuition here, but that's no longer the case.

Berkley will also now be represented on the school board. The old building is expected to be completely deconstructed by November and in its place they will build soccer fields.

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