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Bond would fund school fixes

Only one person showed up for a public hearing Jan. 7 on a proposed $14.5 million bond issue that would finance structural improvements to the town’s two elementary schools.

If voters pass the warrant article in March, the tax impact on the first year’s repayment would be 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value, with an impact of 71 cents per $1,000 in the bond’s remaining years, or an additional $178 per year on a $250,000 home.

The one individual who showed up for the hearing did not offer any opinion to the School Board about the proposed bonding project.

SAU 19 Business Manager Ray Labore said Goffstown residents would pay about 49 cents a day “to allow for Goffstown students to have a state-of-the-art facility as we move forward.”

Labore said $345,220 would be withdrawn from the Bartlett Capital Reserve Fund to defray some of the cost, and voters will be asked to appropriate $271,567 for the first year’s debt service.

Voters rejected a bond request for the school improvements last year.

Labore provided a list of projects that are expected to be completed at Bartlett and Maple Avenue elementary schools.

At Bartlett, seven new classrooms will be added, and the back portion of the building, built in the 1920s, will be razed.

The front portion of the building, built in the 1960s, will remain.

Also featured in the improvements at Bartlett will be the removal of two portable classrooms, replacement of the gym floor, electrical upgrades, new and renovated bathrooms, expansion of the kitchen and food service areas, updated technology, asbestos abatement and improved and enhanced security.

“We’re all sensitive to that particular issue at this point,” Labore said, referring to last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

At Maple Avenue Elementary, 10 new classrooms will be added, as well as a new main entrance, a new computer lab, new art and music room space, improved bus, vehicle and pedestrian circulation, asbestos abatement and upgrades to electrical and power distribution systems.

An informational flier paid for by Harvey Construction, the company contracted to make the improvements should the bond article pass, has been circulating around town in recent days. A stack of the fliers was placed on a table at the public hearing for the bond proposal.

The full-color informational circular is titled, “If Not Now, When? A Proposal for Outstanding Elementary Education in Goffstown,” and it stresses the importance of the building projects, which, according to the flier, improve security and safety, take advantage of low bond rates and bundle years of deferred maintenance costs.

“What is the cost of doing nothing?” the flier asks. It lists the following:

• Failure to provide safe, appropriate facilities for our instructional programs and community use;

• lncrease in interest rates;

• lncreased maintenance costs to repair old buildings (windows, boilers, mechanical equipment and masonry);

• Schools will remain non-compliant with state and federal codes;

• Continued use of washrooms, hallways and closets as instructional spaces;

• Continued concern with safety and security;

• Poor air quality;

• Need for additional portable classrooms;

• Continued concerns with traffic flow, safe egress, poor wiring and administrative teams located away from main entrances.

If voters approve the projects, construction would begin in the spring and be completed by the summer of 2014.

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