District projects rank at top of Londonderry schools spending plan
LONDONDERRY — School district projects are among the top priorities on the latest Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), town and school officials said this week.
During Wednesday night’s Planning Board meeting, Peter Curro, the district’s business administrator, said the goal is to obtain a $5 million bond to address major structural concerns such as paving, roofing and boiler replacement in 2015.
Curro said the project is “a second stab at the bond warranted for last year’s renovation article.”
“This is what we’ll need to fund all those facility projects that have been postponed for several years,” he added.
Among the projects included in the bond would be the completion of a drainage project in the parking lot at Matthew Thornton Elementary School and paving of the middle school parking lot.
Curro said the middle school’s parking lot needs to be addressed soon or there could be larger problems down the road.
“We all know that shim and overlay is much cheaper than the total reconstruction we’ve been dealing with at Matthew Thornton right now,” he added.
The school improvements project is listed a Priority 1 project in the new CIP.
According to planning staff member John Vogl, the CIP is intended to cover municipal and school projects costing $100,000 or more.
An advisory document, the CIP rates projects from 1 to 5, with 1 representing the most urgent needs.Other Priority 1 projects are a $3.1 million sewer pump station replacement at Plaza 28, a $725,000 expansion for the Londonderry Senior center, a $2.9 million renovation to Central Fire Station, a $260,000 improvement to the town’s highway garage and a $125,000 improvement to the town’s recycling drop-off center.
Most of those projects are being targeted for the 2015 fiscal year.
Curro said a $3.1 million new School Administrative Unit (SAU) office is being targeted for fiscal year 2016.
The project, rated a Priority 2, would be necessary by then as the district is fast outgrowing its current location next door to the town municipal offices, Curro said.
“To be frank, this building dates to the 1970s and no longer meets our needs,” he said. “It’s HVAC system doesn’t fit in the configuration of the building.”
Curro added that the project wouldn’t likely be eligible for state building aid.
Board member Laura El Azem wondered why the current building couldn’t simply be remodeled.
“For the condition this building is in right now, it’s just not worth it,” Curro said. “It’s almost like having an old car that you keep throwing more money into and that money gets wasted.”
While a location for the new SAU has yet to be determined, Curro said one alternative would be to rebuild in the general vicinity of the current building, while other options would be to rebuild along Mammoth Road or adjacent to the Moose Hill School on Pillsbury Road.
Should the district opt for either of the two latter options, the current building could be torn down to allow for additional parking at Londonderry Town Hall, he said.
“This building was really designed as a temporary solution,” Curro said. “When it was built we’d always intended to go somewhere else eventually”
Further discussion on the new CIP plan will take place in the coming months.
A complete list of proposed CIP projects may be viewed online at email@example.com