SALEM — The school district may still be able to pay for a $200,000 maintenance garage that was cut from the proposed 2014-15 school budget by the town’s Budget Committee.
Superintendent Michael Delahanty said the proposed $199,850 garage would store much of the equipment and supplies related to past and present facility renovations in the district. The structure would also be needed to replace an existing garage at the high school if a high school renovation project is approved by voters in March.
“The first step in (the renovation) process will be to demolish the existing garage facility,” said Delahanty, with that step likely taking place in the spring of 2015. “We need a place to store our things and a place to put our stuff. This garage, I think, is essential.”
After discussions with the district business manager, Delahanty said he believes the maintenance garage can be paid for without the district asking voters to restore funds to the 2014-15 budget at the Feb. 1 deliberative session.
“I think we have some funds either in this year’s construction services line or in savings in other lines where we may not have experienced as much in the way of expenses as we anticipated a year ago,” said Delahanty. “I would ask the School Board to make a commitment to some way of ensuring this facility is built where we can go into the deliberative session and not seek any restoration.”
Board member Peter Morgan said he supported efforts to pay for the maintenance garage.
“Regardless of the outcome of the bond vote, I believe this is a structure we need to build, and I support building it,” he said. “That said, I’m interested in doing that without seeking restoration.”
Board Chairman Bernard Campbell said he also supported paying for the maintenance garage, but said the board and administration need to make it clear to residents that the garage would be built without looking to restore funds to the budget recommended by the Budget Committee.