The school board is meeting on Monday and it needs to make a decision at that time about what to do with North House. There is no reason to further delay a vote — the board has had ample time to study the space and determine the school district’s needs.
The idea of turning over a portion of the elementary school to the town to use as office space and/or for a senior center is a great one and all who have been working on the details are to be commended. For years, taxpayers have been asking the town to consolidate where possible, to eliminate redundancy, and to share resources whenever it can. This is a prime opportunity to do all of those things.
When it decides how much of the space it is able to give up at this time, the school board would be wise to be careful about trying to “limit” the town’s use too much. Everyone — including town officials, not just school administrators and parents — has the best interests of the town’s children still in the school at the forefront, so there should be less “fear” about inappropriate use of the space. The more flexibility the town is given, the more and better ideas people are bound to come up with.
Weston is about to enter into an exciting time. Yes, enrollment is declining, but that’s not the end of the world. Rather, it’s an opportunity to re-think the spaces that belong to the town and to think about reconfiguring them to better suit the needs of everyone.
A space needs assessment for the police department and communications center is also about to get under way, another long overdue and exciting prospect. The public should make an effort to inform itself and get involved in the process (or at least pay attention to it) so as not to feel like big changes are suddenly sprung out of nowhere. Insist that ideas are shared in public forums, and then be sure to participate in those forums.
These two endeavors — evaluating the needs of the police and making better use of other town facilities like the schools — will undoubtedly make Weston a better place to live.