Opinion: Why I’m Super Excited About Amherst’s Elementary School Building Project


Jennifer Shiao, Rudy Perkins, Bruce Coldham, and Cathy Schoen, canvassing for Vote Yes on April 23. Photo: Jennifer Shiao

Jennifer Shiao’s School Committee Blog

Editor’s note: . Jennifer Shiao is a member of the Amherst School Committee. Her original posts can be found here.  An archive of her blog posts in The Indy can be found here.

On May 2, Amherst voters will decide on a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion for a new elementary school to be located at the Fort River site, which will replace both the Wildwood and Fort River elementary schools.

I am super excited for this school building project! The thing that excites me the most is that this will be Amherst’s first net-zero municipal building. With geothermal wells for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, as well as solar panels on the roof and parking lot canopies, this will be the first Amherst building to NOT rely on fossil fuels! What a great model we are setting for our students – showing them that we invest in what we care about.

Another thing that I’m excited about is that this building, and the fields and grounds around it, will be a community resource. From the cafetorium (combination cafeteria and auditorium) and gymnasium to the athletic fields (which are supported with Community Preservation Act funding), non-school organizations will benefit from the new school.

Lastly, the grade configuration of this new school keeps our kindergarten through 5th grade students in one building (Crocker Farm will also house K-5 students). Sixth graders will attend school at the Amherst Regional Middle School.

Voting yes on this project on May 2 means that our students and staff will have improved learning and working conditions, and will show how much this community values education.

This blog reflects my own views about the Amherst and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committees – it does not represent the view of the committees, the district, or the superintendent. This blog complies with Open Meeting Law, as long as a quorum of School Committee members do not engage in deliberations in the comments. Comments are welcome. I may respond to comments, but I will not respond to all comments. Sign up here using the “follow blog via email” form to be notified when I post a new entry.  You can email me at jennifer@jenniferamherst.org.

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