To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Few would challenge the decision to trade in a gas-guzzling car that was 47 (or even 15) years old, that costs more to repair each year, was becoming more unreliable, and was not taking advantage of safety and efficiency advances, for an upgraded car. The Monument Mountain Regional High School is a well-maintained, 47-year-old building, that costs more each year to repair, and is becoming more unreliable. It does not make sense to keep putting money into an aging structure or only making repairs as something breaks. Especially now, at a time when construction costs and interest rates are low, it’s time for a major upgrade.
Our excellent custodial staff has kept our educational vehicle clean and polished, finely tuned and running in good order for the past 47 years. We have not had to replace any major parts except the roof, but are at the tipping point with repairs. All of the major systems (HVAC, roof, windows, heating, plumbing and electric) will need to be replaced/upgraded to safety and code requirements in the next 10 years. Waiting until things break will cost more, will not allow us to take advantage of summer months when the student and teachers are on vacation, and will not be timed in efficient ways with the other projects that will need to be done.
Trading in a vehicle, even if we have to take out a car loan, allows our family to travel in a safer, more efficient vehicle that will be reliable for many years without major repairs at inopportune times. We calculate the best time to buy, along with trying to time when we can get the best loan rate. Unlike the decision we make with our personal vehicles, in this decision, we are being offered 48.52 percent reimbursement by the MSBA to repair and upgrade the entire building. With the state funds, the annual increase in taxes per household will be what many pay in one month for their car loan.
Would you keep driving your old, unreliable car, pouring more and more money into repairs each year, hoping to pay as you go without counting long-range costs, and safety and riding experience that affects your family? As chair of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District building and grounds subcommittee, I urge you to support our effort to upgrade this educational vehicle to drive sagely for the next 50 years.