Letter: Something to consider regarding the new school

Posted 12/6/23

I am not against investing in sustainable and well-built schools that will last for many generations...I am against is the lack of adequate planning and maintenance that will eventually result in costly building repairs or eventual building replacement.

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Letter: Something to consider regarding the new school

Posted

To the editor:

I would like to comment about the letter that appeared in the Nov. 21 edition of the Warren Times-Gazette, written by the distinguished members of the Bristol-Warren Regional School Committee.

The excitement of the Bristol-Warren School Committee reminds me of the excitement that the Bristol School Committee exhibited in those not too many years ago when the new Bristol High School, now Mt. Hope Regional High School (MHRHS) was on the drawing board and touted as the be-all, end-all of schools.

Over the years, MHRHS has experienced a combination of many issues that were not addressed along the way. This deterioration should never have happened, given the significant annual taxpayer support, and is a testament to the neglect of proper maintenance, whether intentional, unintentional or financial. MHRHS certainly did not live up to all the hype for very long in providing our students with state-of-the-art facilities in their high school education. Here we are, some 50 years later and the building is in a pre-demolition mode to make way for “a once in a lifetime investment in our children, families and our future”. This sounds like an iteration of the comments made more than 50 years ago when the present high school was being considered.

With the scores of engineers, consultants, and other experts involved in the planning and building phases, we find ourselves a half century later preparing to spend $200 million of taxpayer funds to re-invest in a physical plant that should already be fully functional and operational as intended in the planning phase in providing the towns’ students with a quality school. Growing up in the ‘40s and ‘50s and onward, Bristol students received a wonderful education without the expenditure of the enormous funds that taxpayers were asked to spend in the present school and will now be asked to provide in building a new one.

I am not against investing in sustainable and well-built schools that will last for many generations similar to the wonderful older historic structures that were donated by civic-minded Bristolians in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which are still standing today gracing Bristol’s streets. What I am against is the lack of adequate planning and maintenance that will eventually result in costly building repairs or eventual building replacement.

Should we consider transferring the reserves to maintain school buildings from the School Department budget to the respective towns’ general operating budgets in an effort to relieve the School Committee of the burden of maintaining the buildings and allowing them to concentrate on the educational process of our students?

Jerome J. Squatrito
Bristol

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