To the editor of THE EAGLE:
As a former science teacher, department head, principal of Monument Mountain Regional High School, and superintendent of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District, I am in total agreement with the need to renovate MMRHS.
My husband Larry and I came to the Berkshires in 1967, first teaching at the former Stockbridge Plain School and Searles High School until the new high school was completed in the spring of 1968. It was a terrific place for biology teachers because it had an on-site pond and 120 wooded acres for study. In addition, the labs were outfitted with new microscopes and even an autoclave. (And, in the business instructional area, imagine, there were electric typewriters!)
Even in 1967, however, there were problems. The windows were glass plate, readily heating the school as well as the outside environment. The boilers were at the north end of the school; thus, the classrooms at the end of each wing were cold. Special needs teachers brought in their own electric heaters to warm the rooms at the end of H wing! Windowless center classrooms were grand in the winter and stuffy in the spring! And, of course, there was no such thing as handicap accessibility.
As for the science classrooms, only two were fully equipped for labs. And, the physics room was never adequate! What made Monument Mountain a great high school was the ability of staff to adapt to shortcomings -- and, most important of all, there were innovative, dedicated teachers.
Fast forward and changes were made, as we were in the computer and information age. However, important building needs were never fully corrected. Instead, the focus was on new elementary and middle school buildings.
Now, high school teachers and administrators can no longer adapt to needs. It is time to fully address handicap accessibility, heating and ventilation, safety, security and even plumbing! It is also the time to coordinate science, mathematics, technology, electronics, and some of the vocational programs including horticulture into one learning site.
Why these changes now? These upgrades can best be done with a planned, integrated, and deliberate approach. And, the plan is cost effective, especially given the fact that the state will be paying over 40 percent of the cost.
So, as a taxpayer and retired educator, I support the plan to renovate. This plan makes educational sense and financial sense!
LINDA B. DAY
The writer is the retired superintendent of schools in the BHRSD.