“For anyone who has been inside the Gates building it is clear that this is a project that can no longer be put off for another day. We owe it to our students and our town to address the Gates school building now. It will never be a convenient or easy time to build a new middle school, however, it would be cost inefficient to continue to throw money into repairing and patching a clearly failing building.” – Laurie Schneider
“My grandchildren will eventually attend the Gates School. I had no idea they would be walking into such an environment. I have been reading about Marshfield, Hanover and Hingham building new schools. What about Scituate? My grandchildren and their teachers deserve an optimal educational experience. The Town provided the Jenkins students with an appropriate environment and it should do the same for the kids who will attend Gates — and I understand that all kids in thedistrict attend Gates. And why not use State funds to do it? It sounds like a great opportunity that the Town should take advantage of while it can. Also, I remember reading last year about the Marshfield police having to lock down a school since they were chasing a criminal who was heading in that general direction. If that happened in Scituate, it appears there is currently no way to lock down Gates in a timely manner.” – Diane Seelig
“It’s incredible that Gates uses up to 300 gallons of heating oil PER DAY, with the town wasting an estimated $150,000 each year on heating oil for an outdated, drafty, inefficient building. Gates uses four times as much heating oil as any other Scituate school – for only our 7th and 8th graders.” – Robert Nelson
“I had not been in Gates School before and was surprised to see the conditions that the staff, teachers and students need to negotiate in order to provide the highest level of education and learning possible.” – Frank Judge
“One thing that has shocked me over the summer is how much I hear about other South Shore Towns (Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury to name a few) moving forward with new school projects (and I doubt their schools are as old as Gates!).” – Nate Rand
“I am dumbfounded. The pictures show electrical outlets in very close proximity to water damage and discoloration (mold?). Some outlets are not covered, and more than 2 cords are running from others. This building is approaching 100 years old. How can any of this be safe?” – Robin Glazier
“How will we ever motivate and challenge our children if we continue to leave our schools in such deplorable condition? How will we ever attract key teaching talent? How will we ever make a difference as a community if the message we are sending to families, educators and outsiders is that we do not value the places where our children go to learn?” – Robert Comerford
“Any child using wheels or crutches, either permanently or temporarily, to navigate Gates will be further disabled by the amount of class time lost to navigating the maze of indirect routes and slow stair lifts. All children deserve every instructional minute. It is not right to have a building be a handicap to anyone.” – Jean Batty
“Scituate is a great place to live but it is past time to invest in our middle school building, I mean it is almost 100 years old and the last addition was in the ’50s” – Chris Morrison
“We need a new middle school. Our children deserve an updated facility and having a new school supports the investments we have all made in our houses.” – Katie Cutler
Taken from article in Parade Magazine 8/12
“The problems facing America’s school buildings are not always visible ones. Poor ventilation causes asthma, headaches, fatigue, and nausea, making it harder to concentrate and boosting absenteeism. Hot and cold classrooms, external noise, and insufficient light all undermine teaching. “We know that when the heat gets up to 78, 80 degrees, the learning curve drops precipitously,” says Earthman. “When a student can’t see the writing surface, when a student can’t hear the teacher, there is a measurable effect.” Earthman, who has studied the link between infrastructure and student performance since 1993, has found that children attending schools in subpar condition score up to 10 percentile points lower on standardized tests, even after controlling for poverty. Outmoded facilities not only inhibit learning but also drive away good teachers, who would rather work in schools where the thermostats function and the air doesn’t sicken them. ”
excerpt from parent letter sent to MSBA Dear MSBA School Selection Committee,
Yesterday, I took a tour of Scituate’s Gates School in a wheelchair. While I knew the middle school was a problem, I had no idea the potential affect on my son’s education. This is what I learned on the tour:
- The ramp slope on the front of the school is wildly out of compliance. I was exhausted just getting to the front door. I estimate the slope to be at 10-12%—a true safety hazard especially with snow and ice. The front door is very heavy. My son would require assistance just to get in the front door.
- The stair lift on the main stair case takes 2 minutes and 30 seconds to get between levels. My son would need to leave class early to get between floors of the building. This lose of instructional time is just unacceptable.
- Not only would my son lose instructional time, but he would suffer the embarrassment of having an entire stairwell blocked to other students while he changed levels.
- The locker rooms are located a level below the gym and do not have accessible bathrooms or changing areas. Functionally, there is not a changing area for children with mobility impairments.
- The below grade lunchroom requires a lift to access. Egress from a kitchen fire is problematic.
- The building lacks working fire doors. There are no areas of refuge in a fire.
- The art, music, and foreign language areas are located in a wing of the building that does not have accessible interior access. My son would be forced to use the noncompliant ramp on the front of the school to access this wing from the exterior of the building.
- Before the tour, I knew that my son would be inconvenienced due to the age of the building.
The list above demonstrates that this goes far beyond inconvenience. My son cannot get an education in this building—he would lose far too much instructional time.