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State grants Fall River's Diman Voc-Tec $145 million in funding for new school

A rendering of the new schoolAudrey Cooney
The Herald News
FALL RIVER — Diman Regional Vocational Tech High School crossed an important threshold in its effort to replace its current school building, with an announcement that it had secured more than $145 million in state funding for the project.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority announced last week that it had awarded Diman a grant of up to $145,772,694 for a new school.

“Greater Fall River Vocational students will soon have a beautiful new space which will undoubtedly enhance and improve their ability to excel in the classroom,” MSBA Executive Director and Deputy CEO John McCarthy said in a press release.

Diman and the MSBA will next have to work out a Project Funding Agreement. This will determine the project’s exact budget and the conditions under which the district will receive its grant.

School officials have placed the project’s total cost at about $293 million.

The building project aims to construct a new school on what’s now the school’s football field. The four-story building would have more than 50% more square footage of space that the current Diman.

Proponents of the project say Diman is in serious need of more space, with academic classrooms and vocational shops are far smaller than the guidelines laid out by the state for classroom size and a building that was built for several hundred fewer students than the 1,400 currently enrolled.

“Our campus is 26 acres, and we’ve taken advantage of every square inch,” Superintendent Elvio Ferreira said earlier this year.

Diman’s sender communities — Fall River, Swansea, Somerset and Westport — will likely vote on funding their share of the project next spring.

Read more about the project here.