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Editorial: Maintenance plans

Crucial to any kind of project is preparation.

The groundwork done in the beginning can pave the way to successful completion of a project. Preparation can expedite the process and help avoid pitfalls that could cost time and money.

The site work now taking place at Greenfield High School is the initial step in preparation for constructing a new high school building. This early work is important, not only for later, when there’s more construction activity on the property but also because the old building will continue to house the high school as the new building rises around it.

When it’s finished in a couple of years, we anticipate that Greenfield will have a public school campus that its students and community should have, both inside and out. It will become one of the jewels of the town and a source of pride for students, alumni and the taxpaying public.

While all the construction work takes place during the next few years, we expect that Greenfield Public School officials such as Superintendent Susan Hollins, GHS Principal Donna Woodcock and other administrators, will be making preparations for when the new building is set for use. Part of that preparation is meshing a new building with the past, the trophies, the banners, the photographs, plaques and other items that have created an identity for Greenfield High School, one that is important in the life of students.

But there’s another aspect of this project that school officials, and the School Committee, should be preparing for: maintenance and upkeep once the new GHS is open for business.

Just normal use of a school can be hard on the building. The volume of people coming and going on a daily basis to the after-school and weekends creates wear and tear. And outside, the fields and athletic facilities are also put to the test through use and the natural elements.

Thus, making sure that the municipality is on top of maintenance and upkeep is key to keeping the building and facilities in shape, so that they not only look good and last longer but also serve as a reflection of a community that takes pride in its public places.

Unfortunately, we know that the maintenance and upkeep are subject to some of the same budgetary twists and turns that school staffing and programs face. In Greenfield’s past, budget cuts have meant reduced maintenance and decisions to put off upkeep that, while not critical, is necessary.

The bottom line here is that as the community prepares for a new high school, it should also be making plans to see that upkeep and maintenance are an integral part of the architect’s plans, as well as the budgeting process.

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