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Keep Longmeadow Affordable

These are critical times for our lovely Longmeadow. Based on recent news articles, the Select Board, and I assume the Finance Board as well, are wrestling with closing a budget gap of approximately $2 million. Pending layoffs were discussed which affect our library staff and its operating hours, our Department of Public Works and even as many as 35 staff positions in our schools. Town officials have projected increasing revenue concerns off into the futute as well. Yet at a recent information session for the proposed new high school which sports a price tag of $78 million, a School Building Committee member was presenting strategies for the demolition of 80 percent of the current school and then adding back 185,000 square feet of new space. The committee stated they have opted for this approach rather than renovating because the costs for either of the two planning options would be comparable. Aside from my reality base in which experience has shown renovation costs to be normally half that of new construction, my purpose in writing would be to remind the School Building Committee and the Select and Finance Boards that the voters will need to know the cost implications of the proposed high school including all its moving, operating, maintenance and staffing costs against the backdrop of the other financial obligations, current and pending, facing the town. Keeping Longmeadow affordable is a worthy struggle. David Spencer Longmeadow
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