LETTER: Concord deserves a new middle school

February 7, 2023

One of the aspects of living in Concord that people find so appealing is the quality of our public services.  We have a well-funded, well-led police force which provides exemplary service to our community.  We have an outstanding library system.  We have a well-trained and responsive fire department.  This is to identify just a few examples from a list that goes on. 

The voters in Concord have high expectations with regard to their public services and, as one would expect, meeting these expectations is expensive.  Of our schools, we have, perhaps, our highest expectations.  Meeting these high expectations is going to require that we make the commitment to pay for them. 

The town did so when it voted to budget $103MM for the new middle school.  This was a well-considered and generous commitment by the community to support our schools.  Now, after having gone through a period of 40-year-high inflation, disruptions in supply chains, disruptions in capital markets, and so forth, we have been presented with a revised total-cost estimate that is approximately 7 percent higher. 

Is a mid-single digit escalation factor enough to force us to start over and, inevitably, it seems to me, pay a new cost grown by an additional 3-5 years of inflation?  I certainly feel that it is not. 

Please vote in favor of the additional expenditure for the new middle school.  You can vote early, in-person at the Town House on February 10 from 8:30-4:30 and February 11 from 10:00-2:00.  Absentee in-person voting may be done until noon on February 15.  Regular, in-person voting is on February 16 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. 

Peter Atwood
Ministerial Drive