Remember when you were in high school and wished you could spend all day at the mall? Well, the students of one Vermont high school are doing exactly that. Downtown Burlington High School in Burlington, VT just opened its new facility — inside a former Macy’s department store.
The school opened on March 4th, complete with working escalators, glass-enclosed classrooms, and backlit shelves. Some vestiges of the old Macy’s store remain, like a giant Levi’s ad in the middle of one classroom and a Michael Kors logo in the cafeteria. The library used to be where shoppers selected fine china and housewares. The store’s warehouse is being converted into a gym. That’s perfect!
Downtown Burlington High School has even included Macy’s trademark red star as part of its school seal. But the school won’t be using the former department store forever. WHAM-TV reports the school district is only leasing the space for the next three-and-a-half years while the existing high school is being renovated. The process was slowed when toxic industrial chemicals known as PCBs were found in the building and soil.
With so many retail stores going bankrupt, will we see more repurposing like this? I hope so. If they’re in good condition, why not give these buildings new lives? I recently got my COVID-19 vaccine in a Novant Health facility that used to be a Circuit City store on Independence Boulevard. And across the state, video game company Epic Games (Fortnite) is turning the entire Cary Towne Center mall into its new corporate headquarters.
You can see photos of the Macy’s-turned-high school in Burlington, Vermont when you CLICK HERE.