WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

I would like to address the issue surrounding the potential location of the new proposed Longmeadow Middle School. The committee that is deciding the location of the proposed school has narrowed the site options to a new school in the Williams athletic field or a renovation/addition to the existing school. While we are all for improving the quality of education here in Longmeadow, this location presents numerous traffic and safety concerns. The proposed site is on the smaller side for a 700-student school, and the already busy Williams Street will become a mess, especially during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. The committee started with about 10 options and has eliminated all of them, but the Williams Site, which is now the preferred location for the new school.

We would argue that there are other locations in town that can better accommodate the new school. Turner Park, Russell Field, Bliss Park, Glenbrook, Wolf Swamp, and the parcel of land by the Water Tower are all viable options. The loss of athletic fields at one of these locations can be made up by converting the Glenbrook and/or Williams properties to athletic fields. With very little open space in town a difficult decision will have to be made as to the location of the new middle school. Squeezing a 125,000-square-foot, two-story school in the Williams athletic field will clog Williams Street and the surrounding neighborhoods with traffic, and create a safety issue for the kids trying to walk or bike to school. This part of town is already very busy with just 300 students coming to the Williams Middle School. Can anyone envision what it will be like with 660 students plus teachers, staff, buses, and parents dropping off kids trying to get to the new school? It seems ill advised to place everything in the center of town. Right now, we have the Blueberry Elementary School, the Williams Middle School, the High School, the only grocery store in town, and most of the restaurants and businesses all within close proximity to one another.

People are drawn to Longmeadow for its exceptional school system and its small-town feel, let’s keep it that way and not create gridlock and undue anxiety on parents and students trying to get to school. It’s only a few miles from one end of town to the other, do we really need to destroy a bunch of residential neighborhoods and create more traffic issues by cramming a 700-student school right on Williams Street? One last thing, the location of the new school is not something that the town gets to vote on. The residents only get to vote on the funding for this project, and that’s not taking place until November of 2025. The location is determined solely by the New Middle School Committee. Before this site becomes set in stone, residents should voice their opinion, as we will all have to live with the committee’s decision for decades to come.

Bill & Terry DeGiulio
Longmeadow