I was saddened, but not surprised, when I read on the front page of Tuesday's Gazette that our school board selected a Lincoln firm to be the architects for our new school project. The McCook firm of W Design was not selected, nor does it seem they were seriously considered for the project.
W Design has a proven track record of providing high-quality architectural and engineering services. They have done designs for several local businesses, the airport runways, our Senior Center along with a host of other projects throughout the region. In fact, they did the proposal for the North Ward site that was in the brochures that backers for the school bond project used to help pass the issue.
What is apparent to me is that a substantial portion of the $5.8 million of McCook taxpayer's money is going to be sent to the eastern part of the state. The construction manager is from Lincoln and the architects are from Lincoln, and they will utilize the help of an Omaha engineering firm. My guess would be that a majority of the construction workers will not be McCook locals, nor will most of the construction material be bought from McCook firms or suppliers.
I've seen studies put out by various economic groups that show that for every dollar spent in a town our size, it is spent seven times over in that community. In other words, local firms like W Design employ McCookites who spend money on groceries, clothing, entertainment, housing, medical services, gasoline, etc. right here in our town. I'm sure the architects in Lincoln will spend very little money in McCook, unless it's for an occasional meal if they ever travel back here to see the project. And certainly none of them will have children who use these buildings, thus giving them a personal stake in the project.
It's too late now to do anything about this decision made by our school board. However, I think it's time that local citizens take a close look at the decisions this board makes and how they go through their decision-making process.
Diane M. Lyons