Questionable Authority: Burlington High School Considers Move to Former Macy's Site | Live Culture

Questionable Authority: Burlington High School Considers Move to Former Macy's Site


  • File photo by Courtney Lamdin ©️ Seven Days
In early September, the Burlington High School campus was closed indefinitely due to the discovery of high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the air of one building. In response, the Burlington School Board authorized its superintendent last week to begin negotiations for holding classes in the former Macy’s store in downtown Burlington.

Seven Days staffers weighed the pros and cons of the potential move in this latest installment of Questionable Authority.

1. What are the most appealing aspects of holding classes in the now-vacant department store?
Dan Bolles: Presumably, there's a modern HVAC system.

Bryan Parmelee: Holding classes in the former Macy’s building will provide students with invaluable insight into how protracted and painful the process of declaring bankruptcy can be.

Sally Pollak: Throwing a big parade on Thanksgiving. To comply with public health guidelines, this year’s parade will be all floats, no people.

Jordan Adams: Anytime a popular jock wants to reinvent the class nerd or artsy girl with glasses, changing rooms are readily available for the makeover montage!

Ken Picard: There's huge creative potential for interpreting the morning announcements about boy’s gym classes being held in women’s lingerie.

2. What are the potential drawbacks of the Macy's site?
DB: While it'll be easier than ever to ditch school to hang out downtown, as is the birthright of all Chittenden County high schoolers, there's not really anywhere to go because of the pandemic-era restrictions on in-person loitering.

BP: This decision could be potentially harmful to students with an irrational fear of escalators.

SP: Shoplifting between classes.

JA: I worry that the grand stairs outside the building on Cherry Street could be a prime location for a High School Musical-style production number.

KP: Remediation continues on the first-floor cosmetics counters, which are still registering dangerously high levels of Calvin Klein’s Obsession.

3. If the Macy’s plan is rejected, what other sites should be considered?
DB: None. It's a fucking pandemic. Stay home.

BP: If Macy’s is rejected, the district should consider holding classes in a chemical manufacturing plant to have better control over which chemicals the students are required to breathe in.

SP: The Pit.

JA: We should disperse the Burlington students to other area high schools à la the upcoming “Saved By the Bell” reboot. City kids co-mingling with suburban kids? Sounds like a thrilling time of self-discovery to me.

KP: The also-vacant Sears building in South Burlington offers more options for shop class, plus savings of up to 40 percent off most major brands of appliances.

Questionable Authority is an irregular column in which Seven Days staffers weigh in on topics about which they may or may not be qualified to speak.

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