I was at a parents’ meeting at Charlestown High School on Tuesday evening for one of my son Cameron’s extracurricular activities. After the group’s business agenda was completed, the group’s leader handed out what was described as a final conceptual drawing for the proposed new Charlestown High School building.

The person leading the discussion pointed out on the conceptual drawing that the project plan calls for a finished building that will initially have no gymnasium, pool or auditorium. In fact, the conceptual drawing that was handed out listed them, along with some possible expansion space for additional classrooms, as labeled for future expansion.

The gentleman explained that the site that had been chosen was behind the Charlestown Civic Center and that students would have to travel back to the old high school to use the auditorium and gymnasium for the first few years of the new building’s occupation.

The next day, my son came home from his summer band camp and said the students were talking about how unfair it is that their new high school wouldn’t have a gym, pool or auditorium.

I set out on Wednesday of this week to try and verify this bit of information as to whether this was a rumor or fact. My e-mail to the superintendent’s office was forwarded to Chief Financial Officer Michael Hodgson (my e-mail was copied to the new superintendent and school board). His response was as follows:

“Mr. Dodd,

I wish to thank you for your concern about the Charlestown High School project.

Not being certain which drawing you might have seen, I can’t specifically respond.

I can assure you, however, that at this point, nothing is final. Any plans that you saw were only a “work in process.” We are working with the architect to build the most complete building possible, given the budget, without sacrificing the quality of construction.

If you would like additional information, Mr. Kovert is scheduled to give a short presentation to the School Board at their Aug. 7 meeting.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Michael Hodgson.”

Mr. Kovert is the project’s architect. I thought I would simply share what I have heard and what I know (and in this case, what I don’t know) with any Charlestown parents of students who will be attending the new proposed high school building in the coming years.

I have to applaud the school board as far as how they have had to deal with the very complicated building projects. The taxpayer revolt led by local resident Kim Matthews resulted in some very tough budgetary constraints and what was desired will be a very different creature from what will finally be constructed with bricks and mortar.

The information floating around Charlestown is inciting many people. As you can see from the official response, that rumor can be neither confirmed nor denied. Whether there is any truth to it obviously is yet to be determined.

As with any local gossip, for many people the perception is the truth. It would certainly seem to be in the interest of many Charlestown residents to attend the Aug. 7 school board meeting. It’s your tax dollars and your school. Many of the people who will make these decisions are subject to the voting public’s desire to keep them in office. They work for you!

Lindon Dodd is an Otisco resident and can be reached at Lindondodd@hotmail.com. His column appears on Sundays.

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