The recent Herald editorial (“Longfellow decision may only put off inevitable,” The Herald, March 7) represents the minority opinion in our community. Not one person has ever stood before the school board to argue in favor of demolition.
Although the building is certainly in need of updates, claims that it is in unusually bad condition for a vacant historic school are not supported by facts. The editorial neglects to mention that the building was used as district offices until just six years ago. Countless historic schools of similar vintage, many in far worse shape than Longfellow, have been profitably rehabilitated across the country. The district’s cost estimates don’t include 20 percent historic tax credits that the school would qualify for, and the $75,000 quoted annual cost to maintain the school is inaccurate. Updated numbers presented at Tuesday’s meeting are around $35,000.
Only a narrow range of options has ever been considered for the building. However, if a committee is formed to engage the public in a solution, then the community will truly feel that we have had our say, and the district will gain a fresh set of eyes looking at the problem before making a regrettable decision.
This is the second time the Herald Editorial Board has described Longfellow’s demise as “inevitable.” I believe the school board should be commended for their prudent decision to wait to surplus items from Longfellow until a final decision is made on its fate, and that the editorial board will find itself on the wrong side of history.