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For sale: A brand new high school

Burlington High School during construction, 1971

Okay, here’s the plan.

  1. Sell the brand new Burlington High School to a college, maybe Middlesex Community College, which is looking to expand.
  2. Lease office space in Burlington and operate the high school there.
  3. Save a lot of tax dollars in the process, to help keep the residential rate down.

That was the proposal from Town Meeting representative Tom Cunningham, exactly 50 years ago this month. The 20-year-old BHS graduate got the idea from Arthur Moon from Wilmington Road. This was the first year of representative Town Meeting in Burlington.

“Quite a few of the electronics buildings are empty and could be partitioned off for school space,” Cunningham told the Lowell Sun. But School Committee Chairman Carl Stasio called the idea, “sheer lunacy.” The debate quickly became moot when the town’s lawyer, David Berman, said it’s illegal for a town to sell a building that’s partially funded by the state. Case closed.

Also in December of 1972, Lahey settled on a place to build.

Lahey Clinic coming soon sign December 1972 Burlington MA

Along the newish Route 3, the battle over “Mossville” started to heat up. That’s the wooded area now known as the Landlocked Forest or Landlocked Parcel. Burlington wanted to develop it for the tax revenue, but Lexington and Bedford wouldn’t allow access for that purpose. To this day, it’s still woods.

Mossville, aka Landlocked Forest, aka Landlocked Parcel




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10 thoughts on “For sale: A brand new high school Leave a comment

  1. Have they ever thought of building or digging a tunnel UNDER Route 3 to get to the Landlocked forest ?

  2. Interesting.. didn’t know that someone tried to sell our brand new high school. I was in class of 76 so we moved in half way through our freshman year if I remember correctly. Funny that I had Mr. Yore for English. He was an interesting character. And also saw the Grass Roots concert at the old high school. And I got the Lahey Clinic scholarship when I graduated.. Lots of good memories here..

    • Mr. Yore . . . oh yes . . . he challenged me to a fist fight once . . . guess I got on his nerves.

  3. The landlocked land was taken from a company called Cadillac Fairview I do believe.
    And the reason they said they were taking this land is they wanted to stop the development the overbuilding in Burlington they did not want what we have now 3rd avenue.
    So that’s land was really taking for nothing and paid for and never used and can’t get to.
    Someday Bedford and Lexington will need something from us and hopefully the town will say no to them.

    • The premise for the Order of Taking was that it was for watershed protection, despite the Conservation Commission having ordered a hydrological study of the area, in anticipation of the taking, which determined that very little of the Vine Brook watershed encroached into the parcel. Using the assessed value in its Order of Taking, Burlington took it for what it thought was fair market value (something around $800,000), and was warned by several people during the debate at Town Meeting that the price was significantly lowballed, a point countered and shouted down by a selectman who was determined to have the town purchase it. Cadillac-Fairview sued the Town for the developable market value of the property, and the Land Court agreed and awarded damages against the Town in excess of $18 million for the market value of the parcel. That being said, it is a fantastic piece of property and is a great lace to hike. Currently, however, it does not currently enjoy Article 97 (the article in the Massachusetts Constitution that protects recreational, conservation, and open space into perpetuity) protection

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