BILLERICA -- While the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) recently voted to award Billerica Memorial High School continued accreditation, the committee is concerned about the outdated and aging facility, placing the school on "warning status."

"The bad news is we've been put on warning, but that doesn't come to a shock to anybody because of the physical limitations at the high school," said Superintendent of Schools Tim Piwowar. "We were commended in many areas of our curriculum, but the warning has to do with what our facility offers our students.

"This report helps make the community aware of some of the limitations that we currently have, which will hopefully lead to community support for a new high school," he added.

As a result of the "warning status," the district will be required to submit a special progress report by Dec. 1, providing an update on the status of the district's feasibility study and the results of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) site visit. The progress report will also include work that has been done in the high school to upgrade existing spaces.

Earlier this month, the MSBA approved Billerica Memorial High School to conduct a feasibility study, moving the high-school project into the capital pipeline and marking the first commitment of funding from the MSBA.

The next major steps in the process are for the High School Building Committee to hire an owners' project manager, followed by a designer/architect to lead the work of the feasibility study.

The goal of the study is to identify the most cost-effective, educationally-appropriate solution for the high school before moving into schematic design, according to Piwowar.

For more on this story, read Thursday's edition of The Sun and visit www.lowellsun.com.

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