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September 4, 2013

My View: A real inside look at Fuller

Armed with a trusted camera, I recently took a solitary self-guided tour of Fuller School.

It was easy to do. The school’s wide-open main entrance doors offered me their silent invitation, and I was led by robust memories of the many visits I paid to the vibrant elementary school once housed there during my nine years as mayor and my 11 on School Committee.

Did I see the seething pit of decay unfit for human habitation or use that our local government insists Fuller School is? No, I saw no such thing. And those who seek to portray Fuller that way through a handful of cherry-picked images tucked into a consultant’s PowerPoint presentation serve our city poorly.

I urge you all to view some of the dozens of photos from my visit to Fuller School that accompany today’s on-line version of this column at gloucestertimes.com so you can see for yourself what I saw.

Pass your own judgment on the building’s condition. Here is what I think you will conclude:

The classrooms are large, bright and spacious, though in need of TLC, cleaning and the restoration of some fixtures removed by city workers since the closing of the school; in a small handful of classrooms, floor tiles damaged by sink leaks need replacing.

Ceilings in classrooms are almost completely intact and largely free from leaks, with the significant exception of a hallway leak near the auditorium entrance arising from poorly sealed exterior doorframes and a leaking interior drainage line.

The main gymnasium is in pristine condition and should well be the envy of any fitness center or YMCA.

With a good cleaning, the cafeteria is in fine order and ready to be reopened to serve students again.

The integrity of the translucent atrium roof is absolute – it is undamaged and intact.

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