Letter: A School for the Future in Mascoma

To the Editor:

In response to Dave Shinnlinger’s Jan. 25 letter: The 2008 proposal for a new Mascoma Valley Regional High School was for $39 million and more importantly moved the school a few miles down the road into Enfield. I propose demolishing the existing facility and rebuilding on the same site where all the athletic fields and infrastructure are located. As Dave points out, the current school has many major deficiencies that have lingered for 20-plus years, the worst being lack of insulation. While the renovation addresses some space and safety issues, we are still left with a 1962 school model.

Times have changed. Upper Valley manufacturers are crying for qualified people. Plumbers and electricians can write their own check, yet we treat students interested in these fields like second-class citizens. We push kids toward four-year degrees for jobs that don’t exist. We need to expand programs like Dave Schinnlinger’s, bring back a metals program, among others, that would allow science and math to be integrated into programs for the hands-on learner (aka most of us).

Imagine a school with classrooms with a teacher’s office; unisex bathrooms accessible for those with disabilities, radiant heat floors, actual ventilation and adequate space; a school with wide open corridors, without prison-style cement block walls, heated by a facility that burns chips from trees harvested on school property! Imagine a school that doesn’t look like every school in the state.

If the renovation plan passes we are sealing the fate of education at MVRHS for 20 years to come. My granddaughter is currently in the 6th grade at Indian River School in Canaan, and I would love to see her in a new MVRHS.

Gary L. Hutchins