, Gloucester, MA

May 18, 2013

Letter: Willful destruction of the Fuller School building

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

After watching the recent presentation to the City Council regarding Fuller School and West Parish, I was stunned.

I was stunned to see elected officials use dramatic photos of the shameful, knowing neglect of two school buildings under their watch as perverse justification for allowing them to build another at great expense.

I was stunned to see that we spent $500,000 in part, to tell us that renovating Fuller’s 180,000-square-foot facility, to only use less than half of it — the area needed to replace West Parish alone, without consolidating a second or third school into Fuller also — was not cost effective.

And I was stunned to see that we have resorted to allowing the ends to justify the means in our civic planning.

While some may argue that Fuller’s current state is due to a history of poor maintenance, don’t believe the hype. Less than a decade ago, the Fuller building ranked higher than many of the other school buildings in town. Even the February 2012 Fuller-reuse presentation, commissioned by the city, touted the repurposing of the Fuller building over tearing it down because it was still so structurally sound.

That only means one of two things:

Either Fuller still isn’t as bad as some would have you believe and the citizens of Gloucester are being deliberately misled with misinformation, misdirection, or half-truths to prevent further inquiry, or ...

Within the last 18 months, through deliberate choices not to heat the building, not to remediate leaks, and to otherwise refuse to provide basic building maintenance, our elected officials have taken a roughly $17 million city asset (according to both the assessor’s office and the presenters from Dore and Whittier) and deliberately destroyed it.

Either way, Gloucester’s students and taxpayers deserve much better.