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WVN #35: putting high school proposal into context

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  • waylandvoters2
    Wayland Voters Network September 14, 2004 Dear Wayland Voter: Last night Town officials revealed their plan to schedule a Special Election in late November for
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 14, 2004
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      Wayland Voters Network
      September 14, 2004

      Dear Wayland Voter:

      Last night Town officials revealed their plan to schedule a Special
      Election in late November for voters to decide whether or not to
      approve $3-4 million for design fees for the proposed plan to
      demolish the existing high school and build a new one. The next
      issue of this newsletter will include details about that and last
      night's Finance Committee discussion re. the tax impact of the high
      school proposal. In this issue, we step back for a moment to put the
      high school project into context.

      First, a reminder: Today, Tuesday, Sept. 14, is the State Primary
      Election. Voters in the Democratic primary will consider contested
      races for state representative and state senator. Polls are open
      from 7am-8pm.

      News Analysis
      by Michael Short

      As the High School Building Committee and Town officials push for an
      early vote on building a new $56 million campus, another committee
      wants to make big changes in the Wayland Library. Voters should
      remember that these are just two of many projects in the new Master

      For example, Wayland must build a new salt shed to meet environmental
      concerns. Some citizens are concerned about the Route 30/27
      intersection and improving other roads. Others believe that the
      Town┬╣s biggest challenge in the next few years may be improving
      wastewater and fresh water systems. There is some support for a new
      community center, an aquatics center, another fire station and
      initiatives involving the Raytheon property at the Town Center.

      The Master Plan calls for several such projects to be started within
      five years, but it mentions neither priorities nor costs.

      This means that it is left to voters to decide what is most important
      to do and at what cost, and that makes it vital to make responsible
      choices on the earliest projects. A hasty choice could mean that
      taxpayers won't be able to afford significant projects in the future.

      So far, the library study committee seems to be following the pattern
      of the High School Building Committee, asserting that the building
      should be more than doubled in size and possibly replaced.

      "You can't hang on to the past if you are concerned about the
      future," committee member Eric Hollenberg told the Boston Globe,
      arguing that ideally the town should demolish the neighboring house
      as well as the current library and put up a new building with about
      2.3 times as much space.

      That house and its 4.5-acre lot, owned by Robert and Leslie Karpp,
      are not for sale. Furthermore, some committee members say they doubt
      that citizens would welcome the destruction of the century-old
      library and a neighboring house highly regarded by many history and
      architecture buffs, and those who praise the "semi-rural" character
      of our town. Citizens who haven't been won over by the appearance of
      the new Public Safety Building may be just as skeptical of a new
      library or a new high school campus.

      Town Meeting voted $40,000 to study improving the library, something
      that may have seemed necessary or at least harmless to many voters.
      Whether this committee will evolve similarly to the HSBC remains to
      be seen. At the moment there seem to be diverse viewpoints,
      including ideas on creative reconfiguration of the existing buildings
      and land.

      The HSBC, on the other hand, was chosen primarily by the School
      Committee, which ignored many applicants and installed a heavy
      representation of residents with construction expertise and children
      in Wayland schools. School Committee members attend HSBC meetings
      and are closely involved with the building committee.

      Nobody should be surprised that the combined effort resulted in a $56
      million plan that would destroy even the soundest of the existing
      high school buildings. On Sept. 30, after a long delay, the
      architects and builders will present what they call a "stopgap" plan
      requested by citizens. The HSBC already says a cheaper alternative
      cannot meet the "program" prescribed by school officials.

      Unsurprisingly, the high school project has become controversial.
      Will the same thing happen to the library proposals?

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your
      friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own
      copy, they can send an email to waylandvoters2@... and they
      will be signed up for the listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up
      by sending a blank email to waylandvotersnetwork-
      subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Click reply and send after receiving an e-
      mail confirming the subscription. Anyone who'd rather receive
      information from WVN by phone or regular mail should leave a message
      at (508) 358-9171.

      Wayland Voters Network
      Margo Melnicove, Chair
      Michael Short, Treasurer
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