2013-12-06 / Letters

Take tour of high school before the vote

To the editor:

My husband and I chose to move to Kennebunk a year ago because of the excellent academic reputation of RSU 21. We visited Kennebunk Elementary and the middle school, where our two children are enrolled, and we very impressed with the staff and the facilities. We knew we had made the right choice for our children.

Now, I’m not so sure. I toured Kennebunk High School and was shocked at its dilapidated condition.

There were a number of things I saw in abundance. Leaks. They were everywhere and I lost count of how many I saw. I saw water stained and bulging ceiling panels. There were buckets and cans to catch the leaks, and the band room was so musty smelling I had a hard timing going in it. Wires. Because the buildings are so old and were added on piecemeal, nothing is wired for today’s standards. There were wires coming out of brick walls, coming through ceiling tiles and running down walls into classrooms and work spaces. I saw wires coming out of the ceiling near leaks. Not good. Exterior doors. Our tour guide told us there are 52 exterior doors. Despite the best intentions of administrators, doors get propped open so students in the portable classrooms can use the bathrooms. This one really got me – how could 52 doors in this low-tech, run-down building ever be adequately monitored to provide the security that must exist to protect our students?

During the tour, I did not see any sprinklers. Stairwells were so narrow that evacuation in an emergency would be very difficult. The only exit for cars and buses runs through the middle of campus. We were told that the library can only have books on the exterior walls, because the structure cannot support the weight of the books in the center of the room – and the library is in the newest part of the building.

These are not cosmetic problems, and fixing these major deficits is only going to get more expensive with time. It is nothing short of a miracle that our high school students receive the outstanding education that they do in this facility. Our students deserve a building that supports, or better yet enhances, the existing excellent academic program – not significantly detracts from it.

I want our community to come together and vote yes – but more importantly, I am asking you to take a tour of the high school – then vote your conscience.

Debbie Dutton Cox

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