To the Editor:
When will Tisbury learn to live within its means?
The school being built nearly 80 percent larger for a declining population going forward makes no sense. Regardless of energy efficiency, it will require more people to maintain.
It could have been done for much less.
Originally, I pitched to the school committee to slowly renovate the school. One year, the roof, the next year, windows, then HVAC. That was around 2010.
All would have been paid by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
Next I worked with a firm and designed a modular solution to add some more room and meet all education requirements. (You can see it at bit.ly/TisburyAltPlan.) That was in 2013. You can see it was placed on the lot, and did not remove the existing gym.
While the existing school has small classrooms versus the current standard, we have fewer students per class. Therefore, we have the same or more space per child.
According to the MSBA, if the school met the education requirements when built, it can be renovated without adding space. Again, this was pointed out to the school committee.
I then got on the Tisbury building committee, and it was apparent from the start that teachers and administrators wanted a shiny new building in a new location.
The chosen new location was not walkable, and would have required denuding a new area, bringing in all infrastructure, and then busing all students. That is what got approved and then voted down at the polls.
My 2013 plan was presented to the latest building committee. They refused to even look at it.
We should vote down the $26 million, keep the existing gym, use a modular method to add space, and call it a day.
As another option, buy the modulars and call that the new school. You see that in California all the time.
I went to the town and said to buy the modulars where the board of health, planning board, and building inspector, zoning board of appeals are located. Without me saying anything, we would still be paying rent. A warrant was placed for the annual meeting, at the time, and it passed. I then negotiated a price that saved $15,000 versus what was approved. That paid for the connection between the units and the storage container.
If that had not been done, we would still be paying rent two decades on. So modulars are just fine, although I would prefer the school renovated and the modular solution for added space.
There needs to be real debate on this, not just, we have to do what we are told! It is our money, and for me on three properties in Tisbury!