Capital Improvement Plan Request Repeated for School District Renovations

The School District’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) will be the focus of a Planning Board subcommittee meeting to rate town and school projects and provide a recommendation for a six-year plan.

School District Business Administrator Peter Curro told the School Board at its Thursday, June 6 meeting that the CIP allows the use of impact fees to cover the costs of capital needs and future growth. He reminded the board that it is not bound by the CIP plan.

Curro said the district has three projects “that have been there for a while, and our recommendation is to attempt at least to discuss the renovations that just failed by 11 votes this past March,” he said, noting the CIP also includes a new district office at $4 million in FY 18, and funding a high school auditorium in FY 19 and 20 at $1.5 million each year.

In Fiscal Year 15, the CIP lists $5 million for district wide renovations – the renovations that were put before the voters in March and failed by 11 votes. They include boiler work, roofs, paving and interior renovations to Matthew Thornton Elementary School.

“We’re going to try it again,” Curro said. Curro explained there are no proposed expenditures for FY 16. He said FY 17 has $150,000 proposed for plans to replace the district office, and FY 18 shows $4 million to replace the district office. FY 19 and 20 have a proposed $1.5 million each year proposed for engineering and architectural work for a high school auditorium. No money is proposed for athletic fields.

Curro said that in the past, there was a time when the town and school didn’t cooperate. Board member Steve Young took issue with that, and said he didn’t recall the town and the school district “not getting along. What I do recall is the town and the school would present everything in big lumps, so in other words the town would present all of its capital improvements in one pile and the school would present its capital improvements in another pile, and they would compete against each other.”
Curro said at one time, funding a new police station and a new school were presented in the same year.

Young questioned the $4 million for 2018 for a new district office. He said that when he was on the building committee for “this building, we did it for $2.5 million and it performs a much larger function. It is a good decade later, but why would we be setting aside $4 million?”

Curro said it was his guess, with inflation, that the cost would be $4 million.
“That’s my best guess at the moment,” he said. “In 2017 what would happen is there will be a planning committee and we’ll probably bring an architect in and they could give the board a draft of what the building would look like, and then based on market numbers, you have a much more accurate idea of what that number would be.”
A motion to support the CIP for 2015 to 2020 was made by Young and seconded by board member Leitha Reilly, and the measure passed unanimously.

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