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Letter: A Third Option for Mascoma High

To the Editor:

It’s almost time to vote for renovations at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. This will be the third vote for a plan to save the school from losing its accreditation. The School Board has put on a full court press to pass this bond. Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The School Board must not have heard that one.

It’s no secret that the MVRHS is well beyond its service life and needs to be replaced. My problem with the current renovation plan is that it is horrendously expensive. The district will gain 35,000 square feet and a new roof; a few classrooms will gain space, along with the woodshop. Essentially, plans call for a new building around the existing one. The renovation costs about $528.50 per square foot. For perspective, Hypertherm’s LEED-certified manufacturing facility cost $225 a square foot and the median price for a new high school in New England is approximately $303 per square foot for the typical brick façade.

Perhaps a previous bond failed because some towns in the school district didn’t want the school in Enfield. The district needs to innovate and look beyond the typical flat-roofed brick building. The problem with the upcoming vote is the voters are left with two options: 1) vote for the renovation to save the school and be a hero, but remember, there won’t be any more money for anything for the next 20-plus years; or 2) vote against the renovation and be labeled anti-education and accused of not caring about the kids.

When I vote in March, I demand a third option. I want the option to tear down the existing facility and build a new facility in the same location for close to the same amount of money. Almost everyone would be willing to spend money to restore a ’57 Chevy or a classic Mini Cooper but no one spends money restoring a Yugo!

Gary L. Hutchins