To the editor:
Following Councilor Bruce Tobey’s lead (“My View,” the Times, Wednesday, Sept. 4), I decided to see, first-hand, the condition of the Milton L. Fuller School.
Sorry Joe Ciolino, you can call it as you wish but it’s still a school. plain and simple.
When I walked through the main doors, I was horrified not so much by my initial observations, but by the clearly willful neglect of maintenance and the total disregard for this taxpayers’ asset.
The school, for the most part, appeared as it did after the last day of classes, but for the trash and pilferage. It’s true, the ignored leaky roof has caused substantial ceiling damage that should have been prevented. And the burst pipes have stained and damaged the floors, because the city leadership decided it was in the best interest of all to shut off the heat even during the harsh New England winters.
That being said, the building seemed sound and the structure seemed sturdy. I’m no engineer but, as Bruce Tobey stated, I can’t see all the millions of dollars needed to, at the very least, bring this building back as a solution to the temporary housing of the West Parish students who will be displaced when the construction on the new school begins.
In addition, if we renovate a rented property for two or three years of projected use, we will have nothing of value at the end of that term. If we invest in the Fuller property with the same dollars, we will still have a viable asset when the children return to the new West Parish School.
At the conclusion of my site tour, I asked how many city councilors had done the same building inspection recently.
Except for Bruce Tobey, none have bothered to invest the time to research the property prior to voting on its disposition — a vote that will cost the taxpayers of Gloucester millions of dollars!
Only Bruce Tobey, the one councilor who sees the site as an asset not a liability, argued the point that Fuller must be considered as a potential relocation site for West Parish. Also, to the best of my knowledge, the City Council has never accepted the property from the School Committee as surplus; therefore it should be considered, and the state should be petitioned for its reuse.
After all, it’s your money being wasted. Don’t you deserve the right to tell our elected officials how you want it spent?
Remember on Nov. 5 not to reward those leaders who have the audacity to vote for a project of this magnitude without so much as a trip to view the school’s potential.
Essex Avenue, Gloucester