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Letter to the Editor: Time to replace Elmwood School

by | Nov 1, 2023 | Letter to Editor

It is time to replace Elmwood School whether we, as a community, like it or not. The Elmwood building can no longer support the size of the current student population, and in the next 10 years that population is expected to grow over 20%.

If Elmwood does not pass, the Town of Hopkinton will have to pay for the necessary improvements in order to make this school functional for the incoming classes. We will most likely have to incorporate the cost of an addition to the middle school (currently sixth, seventh and eighth grades) into the budget. The improvement costs to Elmwood and the middle school will not be reimbursed by the State of Massachusetts. At the same time, the Elmwood improvements will only act as a Band-Aid on an already aging school — we will still need a new building. The Town of Hopkinton will need to re-engage with the state in order to be reconsidered for potential reimbursement — this could take another five years, at minimum. If and when we are accepted (again), it is not guaranteed we will get the current reimbursement (over $60 million!). By delaying this project, the cost to the town and the taxpayers will inevitably be higher and longer lasting.

Construction is difficult. It is taxing on communities and families alike. The Main Street Corridor Project has been exhausting. But to have a school building that takes care of our second through fourth graders, that we are proud of, that represents the values that Hopkinton upholds, that represents the “best school district in Massachusetts” (2024 Best School Districts in Massachusetts — Niche), we need to go through the pain to get to the reward.

The Elementary School Building Committee has done a phenomenal job getting us to this point. The current location, grade configuration and layout were conceived through thoughtful conversations and community input. By bringing the fourth grade into the same building as the second and third grades, this will allow the town to move sixth grade out of the middle school. This relieves the need for additional expansion at that building.

The next community forum will be November 7th in the high school auditorium, or online if you can’t attend in person. Vote yes at the Town Meeting on November 13, and let’s help get this over the finish line.

— Sarah Slottje, Hopkinton

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