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GHS changes

The new high school for Greenfield is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Worried that the margins may be tight for the $66 million project, Greenfield High School Building Committee members have come up with a list of changes, from insulation amounts in the roof and walls to the type of flooring to going with a grass rather than synthetic surface for the infield of the proposed outdoor track, where the number of lanes also would be reduced. It’s a list that will get its own look from subcontractors during the bidding process.

We can appreciate that the committee continues to keep a sharp eye on the numbers as it gets ready to put out to bid.

Nevertheless, it is disappointing to see changes taking place that lessen what was envisioned ... and was sold to the community.

Optimistically, this is the project manager, architect and committee all taking an extremely conservative approach and that as the project gets under way — work is supposed to start this April and be completed when the doors of a new school year are thrown open in 2015 — there will be financial room to restore some items to the plan.

But there’s also a chance that the items on the list won’t be put back in and that other changes will be made that cut back on what Greenfield is getting for its money. It leaves one wondering just what $66 million will get you when it comes to building a new school.

From this day forward, we would suggest that the committee makes sure that Greenfield residents are kept apprised of what’s happening to the design. While it is the job of the committee to work with the architects and project manager, it’s not supposed to operate unilaterally. The community should have a chance to provide input when there are significant changes being considered — such as the items that are now on the alternative list.

It’s not that we’re advocating decisions by community consensus here. But the committee needs to know it has the backing of the community in the changes it is making. That means demonstrating that revisions make sense ... and not just financially.

If the school building project is between a rock and a hard place, one option should be moving the rock.

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