Minnechaug school rating is an embarrassment

Minnechaug Regional High School (MRHS) in Wilbraham was recently notified that the facility was rated "4" in a statewide survey funded by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). This means that the school building is in poor condition and a possible candidate for replacement OR renovation according to MSBA guidelines. Of 1,817 schools in the state, only 62 earned this poorest rating.

I understand that the members of the local school committee, administration and building committee were actually pleased to receive this low ranking which was assigned to only about 3% of the schools in the entire state. They feel that they now have some hope that a new and shiny facility may be in their future.

Personally, I feel ashamed to live in a community in which the high school has this distinction. How could this and past school committees/administrations have allowed the school to deteriorate so much? In the last 25 years, only emergency repairs including roof replacement (1-1/2 times), the pool plus a new boiler have been done. There have been NO major capital upgrades/improvements to the facility since the completion of the second expansion in 1973. No one had ever alerted us that the school had problems until recently. Now, the school committee believes the only solution is a new structure.

There is a reluctance to perform needed maintenance even for things that no one of us would let happen at home. For example, the roof of the media center (school library) has been leaking for at least 7 years. The last time I checked, there were 14 buckets catching rainwater in this room; no one has ever asked for money to replace this roof. The tennis courts at the school were rebuilt within the last 3-4 years with mostly taxpayer money while the roof continued to leak. I am amazed at what received priority!

There should be no pride that MRHS is ranked among the worst facilities in the state. This condition is the result of many people failing to fulfill their responsibilities for many years. That said, the building is NOT structurally unsound. The school obviously needs long overdue capital upgrade. It is not, however, a candidate for demolition.

Frank Pychewicz