The Massachusetts School Building Authority has approved a grant of up to $43.7 million for a new J. Henry Higgins Middle School. The authority agreed to pay 56 percent of eligible costs toward the construction of the 221,518-square-foot school. It will replace a building that dates to 1966 and has numerous structural integrity deficiencies and building systems problems, from leaking skylights to aging mechanical and electrical systems. “This is a down payment on the academic excellence of Peabody students,” Steven Grossman, state treasurer and chairman of the School Building Authority, said in a written statement. “Upon completion, this new school will provide a modern learning environment and create the space needed to deliver on the school district’s educational commitments and goals.”

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