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It’s Game Time for the THS/TMS Referendum on November 3. Why we should vote Yes!

TORRINGTON: Alright Torrington.

It’s game time.

Call it Championship Tuesday, otherwise known as Election Day, November 3, 2020.

As I write this story on Saturday morning, we have less than three days before the polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning around our fine city.

While there is much at stake both nationally and locally in individual office races, I’m here to remind everyone what’s on the line in a referendum question that will sit atop your ballot.

Many of you may have already voted by mail but a large number of folks (hopefully) will be heading to their respective polling places come Tuesday.

I’m talking of course about the question, long winded as it may be, of if we should approve a measure that could help transform not only our student’s life’s but our community as a whole.

Torrington citizens are being asked to vote yes or no to the following question.

Yes ___ No___”

“Shall the City of Torrington appropriate $159,575,000 for the construction of a new high school, a new middle school, a new central administrative office, and for the demolition of the existing Torrington High School, and authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds and notes in the same amount to finance said appropriation?

Now, first off, that wording, while how I am told it had to be writing that way, is remarkably misleading and confusing.

If you didn’t know better, one would think that we are being asked to build three separate buildings when in fact, we are not.

One grades 7-12 High School/Middle School, with the central administrative offices inside.

A consolidation of facilities.

The creation of a 7-12 school on the campus of the existing Torrington High School.

7-12 is not revolutionary, it’s done in so many other places.

I have gone into the details of why I decided to support this measure in previous stories and if you know me, you know I support whatever I believe is going to help advance the greatness of the community I have called home since 1992.

This is a win for this city.

This is a win for all of us.

We just need to be brave enough to embrace the opportunity being offered to us.

We just need to not be afraid of success, of moving our city forward with a bold but completely logical proposal.

In a nutshell.

The present condition of THS is not sustainable.

Opened in 1963, this school owes us nothing, like a pair of my sneakers that are only thrown out when the souls are completely gone.

When the research into this proposal began, there was not talk of building new, just looking at what it would take to fix what we already had.

It was only through that research, done by folks a lot smarter than me, that it looked as if building a new facility would actually be cheaper than repairing the old.

One of the keys is the money we can get back from the state. A nearly 63 percent reimbursement for new versus only a little over 33 percent to repair.   

$74 million for new versus $78 to repair.

Heck, even if it’s closer than that, I call that a win.

Sure, I don’t want my taxes going up any more than the next person but looking at this as an investment that I can see paying off for our community as a whole made it a decision I could be comfortable making.

I get that we are still in the grips of a pandemic and the thought of spending money now seems crazy but the facts tell a different story.

By saying yes on Tuesday, we get onto the approved state building list in 2021 and throughout that year, planning occurs.

No cost to taxpayers for this project until 2022 at the earliest.

Multiple flyers have been sent to city residents showing what the anticipated costs of the project would cost each of us.

What follows below is the content of an ad being run locally on WZBG 97.3 FM and gives a glimpse into the possibilities in front of us if we vote Yes on Tuesday.

On November 3, Torrington voters will be asked to invest in the future of our schools and our city.  

We all agree that Torrington High School is falling apart and must be fixed.  Repairs alone will cost us 78 million dollars. 

Instead, imagine something better.  Picture culinary students cooking in a real kitchen while 0business students manage the restaurant and art students design the menus.  

Envision preschool labs where future teachers meet their first students, and shop classrooms where potential engineers learn high tech manufacturing.  

Imagine a state-of-the-art theater where Torrington’s world- famous band and halo award winning actors perform, and open floor plans that allow for drone and video production classes. 

By voting YES, we can build all of this for $4 million less than just fixing the crumbling building.  If you Believe in Torrington, Vote YES on November 3rd.

I mentioned at the top of this story what time it is, it’s game time.

Torrington has a long and storied sports history so I don’t mind going with the sports theme.

I believe in us; I believe in Torrington.

When you head to the polls on Tuesday, believe in the possibility of an even brighter future for the place we call home.

You got this Torrington, bring it home.  

More stories by Timothy W. Gaffney.

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