Letter: Empty classrooms will find a use

To the Editors:

A couple of those folks who cost our town many thousands of dollars in wasted litigation expense in court and in dismissed claims before state election authorities are now complaining about rooms they claim are not currently planned for use due to present enrollment figures but are included within the Miller-Driscoll rebuild. However, their expressed concerns are as baseless as their litigation and election-law violation claims that were dismissed or withdrawn and are now thankfully history.

First, the cost of these rooms is a very small part of the total project.

Second, to execute change orders now respecting them would be more costly than doing the work as planned.

Third, to fail to include rooms that could be useful during the long life of this building is wasteful in itself.

Fourth, changes in design now could adversely affect the amount and timing of state reimbursement for the whole project.

Fifth, there are other educational uses, even in the immediate term, for which these rooms can be very gainfully employed: for enrichment, music, and art programs, for more much-needed special ed space, and for professional development and general meeting space, to name but a few such uses. They could also possibly be used to relieve overcrowding in other town space.

In any event, these rooms should be finished as designed so as not to incur change-order costs and to have them ready for educational use.

I'm just optimistic enough to believe that our society has not willed itself into extinction by failing to reproduce and that in fact there will be a surge in new births for which this space will represent welcome relief wholly apart from these other important uses to which it can be put before then.

Lastly, the Miller-Driscoll project as presented to and approved by voters was a $50-million one that now is a $37-million one. The lawyer for the two perennial critics who call themselves Sensible Wilton himself argued earlier on for a new build. But that would have cost at least twice that sum, and the state disfavors new builds as opposed to rebuilds; so that approach could have cost our town $6 million in lost state reimbursement as well as a much higher total project bill.

However, these few highly critical folks who write now offer no acknowledgement of these facts since they only serve to confirm how truly insensible their approach to this project has been. Instead, they offer a binary choice between whether this project reflects deception or incompetence. Yet charging deception or incompetence not only fails to comport with the reality of a well-planned project coming in well under budget but also does nothing to advance intelligent debate and sensible dialogue. It really is way past the time for our few but intensely vocal and long-term dyspeptic fellow residents to become less vitriolic and even, wonder of wonders, actually civil.
Steve Hudspeth
Glen Hill Road, July 27