To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I plan to vote "no" on Nov. 5 on the proposed $56 million bond issue which would fund the proposed renovation of Monument Mountain Regional High School, although I do think we have an obligation to provide good, reliable facilities for our high school students. I am not convinced that the proposed renovation would be a prudent, sustainable long-term investment for the next two generations of high school students.
MMRHS has served our three towns well over the last 45 years. I think it is not possible to say with confidence that it can continue to do so for the next 45. There is an uncomfortably high probability that many rural regional schools will need to be mothballed during the next 45 years because of economic and physical constraints, like uncertain sources of electric power and the exhaustion of affordable fossil fuels over the longer term.
The usable life of the renovated school is expected to be at least 40 years. But to spend $56 million to house students for the next 10 years will not make sense, if students 15, 20 or 25 years from now will not be able to use the building. In March the School Committee and its architect told me they were not able to address this question of sustainability. My repeated written requests since then to the Great Barrington town planner (chief author of the town’s recently revised master plan) and to the Berkshire Regional Planning Agency, asking them to address it, have gone unanswered. Until we make a serious collective attempt to answer it, we should not pass the bond issue.