Claremont to vote on $50.5m in school spending
CLAREMONT - A $12.5 million bond to renovate and expand Stevens High School, a $32 million budget and $6 million for wood-pellet boiler systems for all district schools was placed on the March annual meeting by the Claremont School Board Wednesday night.
"The plans are still subject to change, but I'm pretty pleased about it because we're also including a biomass energy system, so that would impact other schools," not just Stevens High School, said SAU 6 Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin on Thursday.
The impact of the pellet furnaces would be neutral, McGoodwin said, because of the money it would save the district in heating fuel costs over the winters.
"The cost is paid by the energy savings," he said.
The proposed article asks voters to approve a lease purchase agreement for wood-pellet boilers and energy equipment for the district's three elementary schools, Claremont Middle School and Stevens High School. The total cost of the installation and equipment comes to $6.1 million and would be spread out over 20 years; payments would be $330,000 a year.
The proposed $12.5 million bond to renovate the high school would address several code deficiencies, including installing new code compliant electrical wiring, fire safety measures and making all doors, bathrooms and building levels handicapped accessible. It would also include the removal of hazardous waste - lead paint, asbestos on pipes and asbestos tile flooring.
The cafeteria would be expanded to allow access of all students during lunch. Parking would be reconfigured, and walkways would be created to improve pedestrian safety. The project would also replace roofs that have out lived their warranties.
Many of the improvements are required for the school to retain accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), but it goes beyond that, McGoodwin said. The 100-year-old building is in need of many upgrades, and the community knows it, he said.
The high school building improvement bond requires three-fifths of the vote. The lease agreement to purchase the wood-pellet heating systems requires a majority vote.
The warrant for the annual meeting is to be finalized Jan. 25, McGoodwin said. Then it will be presented to voters at a Feb. 6 deliberative session.