Letter:  Fort River Provides Several Distinct Advantages As Site For New School

Aerial conceptual map for construction of a new elementary school at the current site of Fort River School. Photo: Elementary School Building Committee

The following letter was sent to the Elementary School Building Committee on May 22, 2022

After a long period of neutrality on the question of the best site for the new elementary school, I have recently been persuaded that the Fort River site provides more advantages than the Wildwood site.  Since the two structures are virtually identical, the compelling factors must be environmental – which site provides a better potential for outside activity and education, and which site provides better traffic and access conditions, and which site can be made more energy efficient both now and in the future.   Fort River provides distinct advantages in all of these categories.

Wildwood could provide an important civic space for a variety of organizations and activities that are currently ill-served in Amherst but would not require the larger plot of land on which Fort River is located.  I am excited by this possibility as well.

I came to Amherst 52 years ago as principal of Mark’s Meadow, just as Wildwood was opening its doors.  I feel committed to Amherst and its schools, and hope that various developments in town will encourage young families to move here and entrust their children to the elementary schools.  Looking ahead over the next fifty years, I think that Fort River, in addition to its current advantages, provides greater flexibility for the future.  I urge you to vote in its favor.

Thank you for your service on this important committee as you face this important vote.

Michael Greenebaum

Michael Greenebaum was Principal of Mark’s Meadow School from 1970 to 1991, and from 1974 taught Organization Studies in the Higher Education Center at the UMass School of Education.  He served in Town Meeting from 1992, was on the first Charter Commission in 1993, and served on several town committees including the Town Commercial Relations Committee and the Long Range Planning Committee.

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