Saturday, June 5, 2010

In Katherine Cravens Own Words

Truly a shame that the opposition has resorted to such a tactic. Here are the Executive Director Katherine Craven's own words from the meeting with Longmeadow residents on May 18th 2010.

Question: "CAN YOU CONFIRM THAT A LETTER WAS SENT FROM THE MSBA TO THE LONGMEADOW SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE IN NOVEMBER 2009 ASKING THAT THE SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE RESUBMIT THEIR PROPOSAL WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING BUILDING RENOVATION?"

Answer: Yes, When we first looked at the initial-this is not unusual either-as I said before, our general impulse is to renovate when we can-because we have less surprises potentially about the building SITE in a lost of places. We needed clarification on the renovation costs-we thought it was very high when it first came into us and then we realized the level of effort that was required in a renovation including that all of the structures within the building would have to be completely gutted. We thought that the unit costs for the foundation seem a little high. We'd gone back and forth with the Town and their professionals on all of these minute details--and that's NOT AN UNUSUAL thing for us because before I would make any recommendations to Treasurer Cahill and the Board of the MSBA, I want to make sure that we had all the answers on the costing.

There were several things , as I mentioned before MULTIPLE TIMES, that convinced us that the new school building was probably the more COST EFFECTIVE SOLUTION for Longmeadow High School's problems. The structural problem in the front, ADA in the building, the subterranean sort of utilities and issues--those things would have had to be pulled out. 4.5 years of phased renovation vs 2.25 years of new building phasing. Those are ALL VERY COMPELLING reasons that we thought that the new building scenario that was presented to us--after hearing the CLARIFICATIONS on the reno REALLY MADE SENSE TO US.

Question: "WHAT ROLE DID CONGRESSMAN NEAL, STATE SENATOR CANDARAS, AND STATE REP ASHE PLAY REGARDING THE LONGMEADOW SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE DISCUSSIONS WITH THE MSBA DID THESE OFFICIALS IN ANY WAY INTERACT WITH THE MSBA ON BEHALF OF THE LONGMEADOW SBC, AND IF SO IN WHAT CAPACITY AND TO WHAT OUTCOME?"

Answer: I talked to Sen Candaras and Rep Ashe all the time as part of my job, We're an agency that has to do annual reports to the legislature. We have a lot of sets of eyes watching how we spend your money. The time that any legislator could actually affect any decision by the Authority is whether or not to put you in the pipeline to begin with.

There are plenty of districts just waiting to get to the position that Longmeadow is in right now. There are probably ONLY 70 DISTRICTS that are in the pipeline to the extent that Longmeadow is and I can point out to you that it is BECAUSE of the STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS that I can't point to any other district buildings that aren't in the pipeline for 34MILLION right now.

The whole question of whether a congressman, rep or senator or even GOD could influence this project could only have occurred prior to you getting into the pipeline.

LUCKILY YOUR CONDITIONS WERE SO BAD THAT WE TOOK YOU ALMOST RIGHT AWAY--after a 4 year moratorium.

You have every right to question us for our veracity, credibility, track record but I'm happy to say that we actually have a good track record of doing what we say. We wouldn't be here today if we did not follow through--and we have the money for you set aside. We tried to set up something that is SO ABOVE BOARD AND CREDIBLE that is outside the usual process and that's what the legislature basically said to do. "


Ms. Craven spent a significant amout of time answering questions from Mr. Moran, Mr Occhuiti, Mr. Nolet and Mr. Wojik. In fact, Mr. Nolet asked Ms. Craven to send us MORE money! She answered all of their questions completely and truthfully.

Mr. Moran's last minute attack on the process and the integrity of the School Building Committee is his last shot of bolstering his candidate's support. Sad that Mr. Moran and the members of A Better Longmeadow have to resort to dirty politics to try and spread fear and doubt when this process has been completely tranparent!

4 comments:

Jim Moran, LongmeadowBiz said...

Christine,

I think that you have got it wrong- it's not dirty politics... just a call for open and transparent government.

In the interest of transparency, could you share the November 6 response letter from the SBC to the MSBA?

"LUCKILY YOUR CONDITIONS WERE SO BAD THAT WE TOOK YOU ALMOST RIGHT AWAY--after a 4 year moratorium."

It's amazing to me how much value one vertical crack in the front north wall of LHS meant for this project. Katherine Craven must have mentioned this crack at least 6 times as an indication of the seriousness of situation. One crack in one wall of a sprawling 248,000 sq ft school facility! It a good thing that she is not an engineer... I would seriously question her competency.

Christine Swanson said...

Jim,

The Feasiblity Study is available and has been available since October 2009. I encourage you and all members of the opposition group to carefully read this study. As always the SBC speaks to the facts.

Chris

Jim Moran, LongmeadowBiz said...

Chris,

Obviously, you didn't just send a copy of the feasibility report as a response to the MSBA questions/ concerns- they already had a copy. The MSBA wanted a cost comparison for a renovation option with different premises that was not in the feasibility report.

I'm looking for the November 6 response letter from the SBC to the MSBA. I'm assuming that this letter is "public information". Hopefully, it will provide some insight for us town residents as to how the SBC avoided a major delay in the project timetable.

The key issue here is the SBC's strong position that there was no cost effective viable option for renovation of the high school.

Your answer evades the pointed question.

Jim

GANolet said...

Political Influence

The three doucumented meetings with the MSBA tell an interesitng story. What we don't know is what happened at the November 11th undoucmented meeting with the MSBA,SBC and a trio of politicians? This meeting apparently changed direction of the two previous documents from claiming that the building is a solid structure with a strong potential for renovation, to a tear down and rebuild of a new High School. What happened?

It is inconceivable that the non-technical MSBA Executive Director, lacking architectural or engineering training would stand in front of a 50 year old building and declare that its condition was so bad that it had to be destroyed. Again, the previous MSBA study and consultants concluded that the building is solid and a strong candidate for renovation.

We will most likely never know the real reason for the change in MSBA attitude. A NO vote on Tuesday, June 8th will provide residents with an opportunity to apply the appropriate renovation potential to the high school project. The MSBA policy clearly "sets forth the school district's plan to remdedy a failed vote and a suggested timeline for such a remedy." Renovation is the remedy!

Resident "tax payers" need not be on a "burning platform" to approve this wrong project which will commit the community to a huge 25 year mortgage. We can do better via renovation by voting NO.

G.A.Nolet