It’s past time for the school road games to end

Editorial Board • Jul 3, 2018 at 8:56 AM

There’s something to be said for old things. They’re occasionally more dependable. They remind us of simpler times. They bring back often forgotten fond memories.

And sometimes the best thing to be said for old things is that it’s time to move on.

Folks, it’s time to move on. Build West Ridge High School — and the road to access it.

The ridiculous debate around the building (or not) of the access road to West Ridge High School has less to do with the road itself and more to do with the desire to kill the high school altogether. A few folks have actually had the nerve to speak that truth aloud in a public forum. If that’s their feeling, good for them for donning their adult britches and speaking their mind. Others should have the guts to do the same instead of trying to derail the school through other, less transparent means.

If you desire a quick death to the school project, just say so. That includes members of the Sullivan County Commission, some of whom would clearly like to see the project disappear like smoke in a hurricane, but would never, ever in a million years admit to it. Actions, however, speak louder than any words could.

But we believe this project should move forward, posthaste.

The argument that existing schools can all be repaired and kept operational remains true. Patch roofs. Replace windows. Fix heating and air conditioning units. They’re all viable and vital to keeping a building open.

But “viable” and “vital” do not equate to operational efficiency and the best use of taxpayer dollars.

Opponents of the school take the shallow approach that the dollars that the new school will cost could go a long way to bringing existing buildings up to standard. That’s true. But then what you have are old buildings that will need different repairs the next year. Then different repairs the year after. The cycle is never ending. They’re still old buildings that need constant TLC.

Additionally, the older buildings are anything but energy efficient. Power bills for inefficient buildings are an almost invisible drain, simply because it’s a cost of keeping the doors open. That’s an issue hardly ever considered in this debate.

Last but not least, the County Commission needs to concede that it’s the county’s duty to build the access road to West Ridge. Period. School systems do not build roads. Counties do. Counties do not educate children. School systems do.

A tip of the hat to Sullivan County commissioners who have voted to do the right thing and voted to build the road to West Ridge High. To the rest of the commissioners, do your job. Focus. Stop the stalling. Stop the games. Fund the road to West Ridge and move on. This county has other issues of importance to address.

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