Students commute between classes at Downtown Burlington High School, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Burlington, Vt. Students who once shopped at a downtown mall are now attending high school in the mall's former Macy's department store, taking escalators to and from classes.
The existing Burlington High School was closed last August after PCBs were found in the building.
The Downtown Burlington High School opened March 4, about six months after school administrators closed the existing school, just under 2 miles away, because toxic industrial chemicals known as PCBs were found in the building and soil during renovations.
As school officials looked for space where students could attend school in-person, they eventually eyed the empty department store, which closed in 2018.
“It's weird but cool at the same time,” said freshman Moses Doe, 15, who said he and his family shopped plenty at Macy's before it became his school.