To the editor:
I am writing in response to the My View column and questions posed by City Councilor Bruce Tobey (the Times, Thursday, March 28).
Allow me to address some of his concerns:
The site visit to the Avery School in Dedham is not a shopping trip, it is intended to give all parties involved a visual idea of what a 21st Century learning environment looks like. It was chosen because it is less than a year old, and services about the same population as West Parish.
It was built on 9.5 acres and is Silver Leeds Certified, for cost-saving energy efficiency, two important issues that we will have to consider in any future municipal construction project.
Dore and Whittier, the architectural firm hired by the city to do our feasibility study, will be required to present 3 options for replacing West Parish School. The Fuller School Building will be accessed as a potential option. It will undergo the same review of existing conditions as the West Parish Building. This, however, does not mean that it will be one of the options presented. Whichever option is accepted by the city and the MSBA and is granted final approval by the MSBA will be reimbursed based on the MSBA’s formulas and capped at the population of West Parish.
The School Committee has requested the city to join us in a study of our remaining elementary schools to access both the programmatic and physical condition of East Gloucester, Veterans, Beeman, and Plum Cove. This should be completed before any final decision for West Parish is made. As far as we are aware the district’s most pressing building issues are at the High School.
Since I have returned to the School Committee we have had many discussions and incremental votes the led to the declaration of the Fuller School Building as surplus. The public has had many opportunities to weigh in on this issue including a survey that we conducted. Our decision was not based on there being neighborhood schools but there being small learning environments.
I hope this answers some of your concerns.
Chairman, Gloucester School Committee