This past week’s Gloucester City Council meeting and its discussion of the city-owned property and building just off Blackburn Circle brought about a strange turn of events.
For, in the course of firming up wording on a nonbinding November referendum for the city elections ballot, some councilors sought to edit into the question a subtle but perhaps significant name change for one of the city’s best-known and, over the years, busiest buildings.
While firming up and reiterating that voters will not be able to choose a school as a future use of the Fuller School building, they also decided to emphasize that “school” would, they believe, never again be part of Fuller’s future. And to that end, the council took steps to refer to the property only as the “Fuller Building Site,” including on the ballot — which will sample voters’ opinions regarding the facility’s future use as a municipal office building — a commercial property, or a mixed-use multi-unit commercial property while also accommodating a public safety complex on the old school’s Charlie Thomas Field.
We’ve noted our disgust with the School Committee’s and the council’s push to avoid — seemingly at all costs – asking the city’s taxpayers and voters whether they would like to see Fuller reused as a school. But it also seems clear that school and city officials will indeed now only refer to the property as the Fuller Building, and the Fuller building site.
Councilor Joe Ciolino says it’s to avoid “confusion,” even suggesting that calling the building by its former title of “Fuller School building” is misleading. “We need to put an end to the confusion and to the possibility that people envision it being a school again,” Ciolino said, so he and several other city and school officials hope that residents will pick up that terminology as well.