February 12. 2013 8:23PM

White Mountains school fixes supported by area politicians

Special to the Union Leader

WHITEFIELD - Supporters of the proposed renovation projects at White Mountains Regional High School are getting some help from local and regional political leaders.

District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton, District 1 state Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), and state Reps. Marcia Hammon (D-Whitefield), Herb Richardson (R-Lancaster), and Leon Rideout (R-Lancaster), have expressed their support for the project, which includes an $18 million addition to the Arthur T. Paradise Career and Technical Education Center and $4.3 million in renovations for the high school. Video of their remarks is available at investinourfuture.me..

The $18 million cost would be offset by $13.5 million from the State Career and Technical Education funds. The remainder of that could be eligible for the 56 percent in regular state building aid.

The local property owners' share for the high school renovation project's cost would be 44 percent, or about $1.9 million, with the rest covered by the 56 percent state school building aid. If the district is unsuccessful in getting state air for either project, neither goes forward. The elected officials are betting on the future and doing it through the internet, due to the efforts of Montagne Communications. Montagne is performing the public informational service as a member of the design/build team contracted with the school district for the project. Other team members are Daniel Hebert, Inc., Warrenstreet Architects, Yeaton Associates, Horizons Engineering, TFMoran Inc, and RPF Associates Inc.

In the video, Rep. Richardson said, "I don't believe you'll see the funding again," saying the CTE is very important and noting that the windows in the high school date back to 1966-67.

Councilor Burton said, "I know this is only going to enhance responsibilities and opportunities in this career technical education center." He urged people to take a good look, "as is the North Country way," but hoped that people will conclude that this a program that is worthwhile.

State Rep. Marcia Hammon said: "We are at the very end of the funding process. We've been delayed in this northern part of the state, and this is the last time that we will be able to have the state supply matching funds." She also said, "We will not be able to apply for this for another 20 years, and even then it's not certain that there will be any matching funds."

Sen. Woodburn said, "We need some young people to stay in the North Country, and it is absolutely vital for a community to be successful to have young people in the area."

Woodburn said the CTE can help those who wish to stay find what they love to do and then make a living from it.

Scott Trachmontagne of Montagne Associates said residents' reactions have been positive. He also said they're trying to get the word out to every voter, and then let them make up their own mind.

"We recognize that voters want information," he said.

The high school serves the students of Dalton, Carroll, Jefferson, Lancaster and Whitefield.

Plans for the projects are available at sau36.org, and the vote on the articles is March 12.