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Woodbury Middle School work not a priority for Salem district

SALEM — The school district has been a hotbed of renovation projects lately, with work under way at the Fisk and Soule elementary schools and a $75 million overhaul proposed for the high school.

Although the Woodbury Middle School would be the next building in line for improvements, Superintendent Michael Delahanty said it’s unlikely a major project at that school will be brought forward anytime soon.

At last week’s School Board planning session, Delahanty reviewed progress on the district’s strategic plan that was approved by the board last year. Topping that strategic plan is a facilities master plan.

“It’s really no mystery that our first objective was to develop and obtain approval for a comprehensive renovation plan for Salem High School,” Delahanty said. “Our challenge now is to gain approval from the townspeople.”

During a recent Budget Committee meeting, Delahanty said there was a comment that if approval was given for the high school project, a renovation project for the Woodbury School would be next.

“Yes, we do have a master plan, and the Woodbury School would be the next school,” he said. “But I don’t anticipate that this board would be advancing a plan to address the Woodbury School until some time after (the high school) is completed. I can’t say that with any certainty, but knowing these board members, I think it is safe to say we want to get this high school done first.”

If approved, Delahanty said, the high school renovation will take about four years to complete.

“Once that is done, we will start considering the needs of the Woodbury School,” he said.

While a potential major project at Woodbury looks to be at least five years off, Delahanty said the district will continue to stay on top of maintenance for all its schools as part of the facilities master plan.

“We do have an electronic maintenance management system with a software application program that we use to manage the facilities that have been renovated,” said Delahanty. The program keeps track of utilities and mechanical systems and sends alerts when any of them are due for maintenance or replacement.

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