New School Vote for Litchfield
Posted in the Litchfield Forum
#1 Mar 13, 2008
Thanks to all who voted down the proposal for the new school for the 4th time. Does the School Board get it yet? Nah.
#2 Mar 14, 2008
Another no vote. The school board asked a group representing us to look at options and make a recommendation to the board. Eighteen months later eight options were considered, everything from fixing the existing building to the plan that was submitted. Fixing the current building was going to cost serious money because once one piece of infrastructure is fixed then everything else that is grandfathered (and there is a lot) would have to be fixed as well – this could not be done piecemeal and would mean the school would be closed for approximately a year and the kids put in to portables. One example is if the wiring from 1930 (yes electricity is being carried in electrical wires that old) was replaced then because the main board would have to be changed (actually moved as it does not comply to current code) and then the rest of the wiring would have to brought up to. Most living rooms have more than two electrical outlets that are grounded (most electrical equipment in the home needs to be grounded) but there are classrooms that have only two ungrounded outlets and a teacher is not allowed to attach more than one appliance to one plug.
One of the safety features that would have been fixed is the lack of a fire sprinkler system at GMS - mandated by the state for bars and clubs, but for some reason (known only to legislators and safety officials) schools and public buildings were exempt. Next time you are at work or in the supermarket look up and see what protects you but not some of the youngest citizens of Litchfield. For the record there were an estimated annual average of 14,700 fires at schools in the US between 2003 and 2005 that required a fire department response.
The issue is not going to go away – just look at any profile of the town and you will see that this is an issue that is prominent and does deter new people and investment coming to the town. The time between the GMS issue being resolved and a piece of infrastructure failing causing the closure of GMS just got smaller.
#3 Mar 15, 2008
I agree that the GMS issue probably deters many people with kids from coming to town. That, in my opinion, is a good thing. People with multiple kids drain more from the town resources than they pay in taxes. Next time you are in your home, look up and see if you have a sprinkler system protecting you. Sprinkler systems are primarily there to protect the property, except in places where there are few exits that hold a lot of people, like clubs. Schools and homes have multiple exits that allow for rapid escape. Smoke detectors are much more of a personal safety device.
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