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Letter: Building demolition

Teresa A. Conti’s Aug. 30 letter asking why Holy Trinity School on Beacon Street would be demolished, rather than rehabilitated for a new use by Baystate Health Systems, touches several of today’s public information challenges.

The most pervasive is recognition that sustainability includes preservation of our “built resources” environment rather than sending it to a landfill. Greenfield has a number of current projects that recognize that rule, and designers and builders who are very capable of taking a building and rehabilitating it for a new use while preserving its essential character as part of the community. The field of medicine should be one of the first to recognize and apply this important principle.

We know that community memory builds strong communities. According to the Greenfield Cultural Resource inventory form No. 230 for Beacon Street School, it was built in 1929 to serve a growing Polish, French and Irish population attracted to the town’s prosperous tool industries. The form continues: “By the 1920s this growing population felt the need to have its own schools and this building, plus the convent on North Street, are the result.”

Architecturally, its Classical Revival style fits the Modern Period and is one of our best of that period. Architectural historians say that this is a fine example and is worthy of local pride. Erasing those resources is no longer taken lightly in places that pay attention to historic buildings as resources which help build and maintain a strong community. The “under construction” Greenfield Master Plan strives to maintain this and the community has been invited to participate in this process.

MARCIA STARKEY

Member of Greenfield Historical Commission

I can explain in five words about why they can't economically save that building. " The Massachusetts State Building Code"

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