Letter: Marion Cross Needs Attention

To the Editor:

We are writing in support of Article 5, the proposed $450,000 bond for capital improvements at Norwich’s Marion Cross School.

Our fellow members of the Facilities Operation and Management work group for the Marion Cross School Long Range Planning Committee have seen firsthand how tight budgets often push building maintenance issues to the back burner. The work group’s evaluation of the Marion Cross School facility has determined that delaying maintenance doesn’t work in the long term, ultimately resulting in emergency repairs and inefficient energy use that make the building more expensive to Norwich’s taxpayers over time.

With this bond, our community will be able to replace the aging roof above the gym and surrounding classrooms; energy-recovery units (part of the school’s ventilation system); and 12 classroom heating units, converting their antiquated thermostat systems to electronics.

The Marion Cross School’s long-range plan, developed by the Long Range Planning Committee and adopted by the School Board in 2010, states that our community’s goal for the facility is to “provide a physical environment that is safe, attractive, comfortable and conducive to learning.” Among the plan’s strategies is to “ensure a safer internal environment by providing a cleaner, greener facility,” specifically recommending that we “reduce annual energy costs and carbon footprint of the school ... upgrade heating and lighting systems ... (and) address inconsistencies in heating/cooling of the school building.” This bond will help our community take a giant step toward achieving this goal. This is an excellent financial plan to tackle important annual and long-term school expenses, with interest rates on bonds at their lowest in over 20 years.

Please join us in voting yes on Article 5 at Town Meeting on March 5.

Linda Gray and Brian Cook