Have you seen any new construction built on granite foundations with brick siding, hardwood floors and plaster walls? Today is seems like we have particle board wrapped in Tyvek sheets covered with vinyl siding. Inside we find plywood floors covered with chemically-laced carpet and plastic tables and chairs surrounded by additive-rich drywall That’s what we’ll no doubt find in that proposed Chariho factory in the field. Do you really want to invest in that kind of low bid, synthetic structure for our youngest, most vulnerable children?
While our current schools may not be perfect, they are well-built and well-maintained. They were constructed to last for generations and they should continue to do so. We have new roofs here, new windows there, a million-dollar playground here, and a state-of-the-art septic system there. Like any property of value, however, it’s location, location, location. Our schools are in the heart of our communities – a place to gather where neighborhood kids can play, where village kids can even walk! A Chariho school factory in the field is just that – a mega structure removed from residential areas to which everyone will be driving miles by bus or car to get to whatever is being held.
We should learn from the past. Under the Chariho Act it appears that whenever construction was being considered, a building committee was elected to oversee the operation – from siting and financing to designing, planning, and monitoring its completion. We want our children to benefit from the time, experience, and effort of those who are familiar with building and our communities. They know who the opinion leaders, those business men who have special expertise, and the neighbors who reflect the grassroots sentiments of the town.
During these challenging times, we need to go back to the future. Let’s learn from the past to prepare for generations yet to come. A low-bid, synthetic factory school in the field that is removed from our neighborhoods is not the answer. We have blue ribbon elementary schools. If it’s not broken, let not fix it. We all know they don’t make things like they used to – even at Chariho.