In advocating for Fort River as the preferred site for the new and larger elementary school in Amherst, I feel it will better accommodate present and future needs because of the accessible space around the school. The land south of the present Wildwood building has a steep dropoff down to the middle school playing fields. The Fort River site is level with area for expansion to the east. If, in the future, the population of school age children in Amherst increases, there is room to put in additional buildings or extensions.
The Wildwood site is close to the secondary school buildings and would have easy access for other uses such as an expanded senior center or a teen center.
In any case, it seems short-sighted to de-acquisition either building site. There are enough potential town uses to support retaining both sites. In 20 or 30 years, people may wonder what the town was thinking by letting go of a municipal property.
Elissa Rubinstein is a 51 year resident of Amherst, and taught at Amherst Regional Middle School for 30 years.