Friday's groundbreaking ceremony for the new Taconic High School was a well-earned celebration for a city that was in need of one.
Pittsfield has struggled economically and with a loss of population for a number of years now, and while the new Taconic is certainly not a cure-all it has the potential to bring dramatic change for the better. The beginning of the construction project marked Friday is a source of pride for the many public officials who made it happen and for the residents of Pittsfield as well.
State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who chairs the Massachusetts School Building Authority that is contributing $74 million to the project, said at an Eagle editorial board meeting before she went to the ceremony that there is a direct connection between top-notch schools and the strength of a community. The new state-of-the-art Taconic, an academic and vocational school, will not only provide a good education for Pittsfield students but should draw students from surrounding communities. Along with Pittsfield High, it will provide the city with two fine high schools.
To turn around its economy and stem its population loss, Pittsfield must keep current residents and businesses and attract more. A new Taconic designed to prepare students for the many challenges of the current job market, specifically the need for specialized technology knowledge, will help accomplish both.
Practical considerations aside, a project of this magnitude speaks well of the city's determination to do well by its students, and in so doing, improve the city as a whole. (It's unfortunate that Great Barrington won't adopt the same attitude.) As state Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield said at the ceremony, "This is everybody's groundbreaking."