, Gloucester, MA

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October 23, 2013

Letter: Fuller offers best choice for school transition

To the editor:

I have been following very closely and quietly from the sidelines, but now feel the need to speak up.

As the debate continues on the future of the “Milton L. Fuller School,” I’m hearing and recently seeing both sides of the argument.

Councilor Tobey toured the building armed with a camera and a great deal of positive energy and shared this with the TImes. School Committee member Melissa Joy Teixeira took a similar but very different tour, and painted a much uglier and dire picture of the same building.

I attended this same school in the late 1970s as a preschooler and returned for fourth and fifth grade after being bused to West Parish from next door to Forbes School for first, second and third grades.

I began working for the city’s Facilities Department in the fall of 1993 and ultimately took over as facilities director in 1999. I left the department in 2003 to close out the construction of a newly built facility in a nearby town.

Unfortunately, I have not been into Fuller School since. But Councilor Tobey’s pictures showed hope for a school that has sat idle for quite some time.

I was absolutely disgusted when I saw the pictures that showed the growth on the ceilings, floor tiles buckling — all from leaky roofs that were not tended to and possible broken water pipes. Paint peeling off walls, furniture strewn about …

Was I surprised? Absolutely not. What would happen at your home if you turned the heat off in October and didn’t return until May? What do you think you would have found? That’s not to mention the years it spent vacant with minimal attention.

This is not the school I remember spending the winter of 1995 with my maintenance crew painting every classroom in the building top to bottom. These were not the hallways that Ambrose Lovasco would have shining every day — or the classrooms that Dick, Ted, Mike, Jack or Maureen would have in tip-top shape after the wrath of approximately 500-plus students every day, 180 days a year. I spent many a long days in the office where Allan Harper, Peter Asaro, Ben Dory and Stan Serrin all sat before me. (I wonder what they would think of its current state.)

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