, Newburyport, MA


April 6, 2012

Reasons not to build a new school

To the editor:

1. Cost to taxpayers roughly $26,318,204 with state grant. Does not include cost overruns, unforeseen problems, etc., which usually plague government projects.

2. Incredible traffic problems on small neighborhood streets. Talk to existing crossing guards who can testify to the existing chaos, which will only quadruple with a new school.

3. Where will administrators, teachers, cafeteria help, custodians, visitors, etc., park their cars?

4. The much touted need for a senior citizens center to be built (which is not included in the above figure) is totally unnecessary. There are a number of churches with halls and cooking facilities that are empty most of the week. Why not rent them for a nominal fee?

5. Safety issues related to an evacuation of 750 small children including handicapped from a three-story building are all too real and will pose life-threatening situations.

6. Elimination of playing fields creates a real threat to a number of junior varsity teams, who will no longer have a place to hold practice or games. It also removes open space for neighboring children and their families to play and enjoy.

7. For over $26 million, why can't the existing school be rehabbed? Our leaders blithely say that it is too expensive. I would like to see the actual bids and costs to be published. It has to be less than digging a whole new foundation, dealing with soggy land, etc., not to mention the previously stated negatives. Do it section by section bringing in portable classrooms (which has been done before) to house the areas that are being worked on. A one-story school would certainly make an evacuation much quicker and safer. It would also ease future traffic nightmares and keep the playing fields used by so many.

In these economic times, it would be far wiser to approach the problems simply and realistically, rather than have this huge monstrosity of a building project (which most do not want) shoved down our throats just because the state will kick in some money.

Ann Lynch


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