The editorial in today’s Gloucester Daily Times (paywall to hide their shame) gives us searing insight into the inter-department payment negotiations around the lease of the St. Ann’s school as the temporary site for most West Parish kids during the build out of their new facility. It bears all the hallmarks of the GDT’s recent journalistic area of expertise, the ‘blithering nontroversy’ beat. There is nothing in this story besides the exceptionally routine squabble between two departments who each don’t want to pay 500 large and are saying the other one should. It will get worked out and indeed the editorial itself even calls for them to just split it, like a lunch check. Wow. The whole screed is essentially an excuse to put on the little cowboy hat and take a ride one of the GDT’s favorite hobbyhorses, the Fuller School. From the Editorial:
Neither school nor city officials want to hear it, but — even if renovations to the former Fuller School proved more costly — the city, by renovating Fuller into a temporary home for the West Parish students, would at least be putting money into a building the city already owns, and could use as a future temp site for students from other local schools while their buildings were rehabbed or replaced in the years to come.
Notice anything missing? What don’t you see there? Look carefully and unfocus your eyes like one of those ‘Magic Eye’ books where the unicorn comes out of the blurry dots. See it? See the actual numbers associated with this plan being advocated by the city planning wizards over at Eagle Tribune’s Finest? No? Of course you don’t because they aren’t there.
Let us clamsplain once again: Making Fuller into a temporary home for students was going to cost 14 million bucks. Fourteen. Catorce. This was the number given by trained and certified engineers and architects. You got a better number? Show me your license. That is the number.
Getting St. Ann’s up to speed is about $1.2 million and then a $4-500k lease. So we’re out for around a mill and a half. Maybe more, if the project runs long. Lets call it three. According to the calculations of the GDT dropping $14 mill is better because we somehow magically recoup those costs in the ‘years to come’. What the what? How does that work?
TIME FOR SOME CLAM MATH
So, young numerologists- how many schools would we then need to rebuild at the estimated 3 million cost in order to recoup the 14 million dollar investment? If you said ‘5’ or ‘what the fuck are they kidding?’ you would be correct. This does not include operating Fuller btw, just the buildout.
FIVE for 14 Million. Even if we use it as the temp site for all 5 that that works out to 2.8 million apiece notably THE SAME FUCKING COST AS ST. ANN’S!
Sweet Gillnetting Jesus, do we have to keep doing this? It makes no sense to rehab Fuller even under that logic because we’re not guaranteed to get the money back by any stretch. If we decide to sell or give it to the YMCA, for instance, most of those costs will have been wasted because the Y does not need classrooms and kitchens and a host of other things we would have spend beaucoup dollars on. It takes a lot of cash to make a structure compliant even to temporary school standards. This is like telling a family whose car has broken down to buy a Bentley because they keep their value better than a Camry. Yeah, but not a very practical use of working capital is it?
Question for the GDT: Did you come up with this plan based on the same business logic that determined you should charge as much for your online subscription as the Wall Street Journal’s? You know, the news outfit with 2K reporters in 51 countries whereas you guys can’t even get over to the Mad Hot Ball? Honestly, people.
In the end, our best bet is to do exactly as we have done: keep the temp site flexible and to get rid of the albatross that is Fuller.
We can put the public safety folks out there, sell or give it to the Y in trade for their downtown building, USE IT TO TEST RADIOACTIVE MUTANT LASER-EQUIPPED WOMBATS we don’t care but it’s never going to make financial sense to use it as a school again.
Additional question: when can we start drinking today?