Falmouth Town Meeting Votes Down High School Renovation Review

Selectman Brent Putnam makes a presentation on Article 22, a review of the Falmouth High School renovation project.
GENE M. MARCHAND/ENTERPRISE - Selectman Brent Putnam makes a presentation on Article 22, a review of the Falmouth High School renovation project.

By a modest majority, town meeting voted last night not to spend $24,999 on a review of the Falmouth High School renovation project.

The vote, called at 11:05 PM last night, was 88 in favor and 101 opposed.

Margaret A. Finnell of Boxberry Hill Road and selectman Brent V.W. Putnam made a presentation on Article 22, calling it “The Review You Voted For.”

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In 2008, town meeting voted to review the beleaguered project once it was complete, Ms. Finnell said.

The $86 million renovation came in $18 million over budget and three years late.

Mr. Putnam and Ms. Finnell argued that the review would yield valuable lessons that would improve how the town handles large capital projects.

Five people spoke in favor of the article, and three against.

Joseph A. Netto of East Falmouth urged a yes vote because “we have lost the public’s trust” and the review would show due diligence.

Michael Duffany of East Falmouth, who served on the Falmouth High School building committee, said the renovation was “a perfect storm of events” that was unlikely to repeat itself.

The finance committee concurred in their recommendation, which read, “This proposed additional review is not required ... While the ‘lessons’ learned may have value to some the Town has a strong record of projects constructed on time and on budget. The High School Project confronted many challenges and is the exception not the norm.”

After the meeting adjourned, Mr. Putnam said he was surprised and disappointed by the vote.

“I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to look at it,” Mr. Putnam said.

When asked if he would keep advocating for a review, Mr. Putnam said, “I think this is the last.”

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  • taxpayor/voter

    How sad is when a member of the High School Renovation Building Committee tells Town Meeting members and the taxpayors who are paying for the 84 million dollar renovation of the High School that "you don't want to know" about the problems and the causes of the problems! This person is a member of the committee which is sponsoring Article 24 on the town meeting warrant--asking for funds to build an artificial turf field at the high school by increasing your tax bill! I guess they don't don't really want to know how the taxpayors feel about increasing their taxes yet once again! Let's vote down Article 24.