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A closed-down Macy’s department store has been given new life as a high school in Vermont.
Burlington High School reopened for in-person learning inside the unconventional venue on March 4, several months after the school’s usual facilities, at 52 Institute Road, were shuttered in fall 2020 after PCB contamination was detected by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
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Now students who have opted in to the school’s hybrid learning program are able to get in-person instruction a few days per week in a space that’s clean and interesting to look at, Interim Principal Lauren McBride told Fox News.
Classrooms feature much of the old Macy’s amenities and décor, including fitting room signage, cashier and customer service counters, and retired adverts from Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Levi’s.
It took $3.5 million to convert the space into a functional school, according to McBride. Not to mention moving into the building was a quicker transition and a more cost-effective option than renting trailers.
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Much of the Macy’s original décor is still a part of the converted high school. (Burlington School District)
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Burlington High School brought in completely new furniture and supplies due to PCB contamination concerns. (Burlington School District)
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The 150,000-square-foot space was renovated in 10 weeks and bridges the gap between a department store and high school. Library books are kept on shelves that used to hold fine china, while a Michael Kors section has been turned into a staging area for distributing meals, which are cooked off-site and delivered to Burlington High School.
Burlington High School’s new home is a retired Macy’s store that measures 150,000 square feet. Posted maps help students and staff navigate the space. (Burlington School District)
McBride anticipates students will be calling this Macy’s store home for at least three years.
In the meantime, students are hanging up their artwork and have even requested to decorate some of the walls with murals.
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Burlington High School has also achieved viral fame for its unique reopening after student Miranda Ljung shared a brief tour on TikTok.
“I’ve been told that some students from other schools want to come here now after seeing the renovation,” McBride noted.
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Currently, Burlington High School has around 900 students enrolled, with 100 choosing a remote learning option. The remainder are taking part in the school’s hybrid learning program, which has students attending in-person classes half the time.
Weekdays welcome about 400 students per day, which helps both the student body and staff social distance as the pandemic continues.
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Students who have opted in to Burlington High School’s hybrid learning program attend classes two days per week for in-person instruction. (Burlington School District)
Burlington High School follows the cloth face mask mandate and health guidelines that have been set by the state of Vermont for COVID-19. Hand sanitizer dispensers and coronavirus safety precaution signs are posted throughout the school’s new home.
McBride adds that the best part of reopening is seeing how appreciative students are to reconnect with friends and teachers.
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Macy’s did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
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