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HomeTown Council backs bonding proposal for school roof, track

Town Council backs bonding proposal for school roof, track

By Max

Town Council has approved a plan to replace the Community School roof, the track at the Ray Beaupre Field, and windows at the Richards Memorial Library.

The town will submit the bonding requests early next year. The track and roof will be paid off over a 15-year period and the windows over five, done through a regular line item included in the budget. Acting Town Manager Michael Gallagher said the town spends $500,000-$520,000 on different projects funded through bonds, and as some are paid off, new ones are taken on.

We don’t want that to inflate in any way because it impacts what we have available for other budget items,” said Gallagher at the Town Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 16.

The council approved bonding authorization for all three projects.

Beaupre Field Track

According to School Superintendent Scott Holcomb, the current track is an inch-thick mat glued to the asphalt beneath it. Over the years off-gassing has taken place, causing the glue to deteriorate. Holcomb said whole sections have been replaced, but can be lifted up. In addition, a section of one lane of the track was cut away when the field was replaced.

We need to replace the track and look at what’s beneath it,” he said. “We need to do some core samples to see the extent of what we need.”

It’s estimated that a track that can last 25-30 years will cost $679,000. The bonding request is for $800,000 in the event more work needs to be done. Any funds not used can be allocated to other school-related projects, with the council’s approval.

Despite the damage, Holcomb said the track has continued to be used for meets and by the public. He said one issues is when it rains, the water can get under the track and freeze. When asked about the teams that use it, Holcomb said 939 track athletes over the last three years have used the track for 665 practices and meets, for both spring and winter sports.

Arsen Hambardzumian, a member of the town’s Zoning Board, runs a business that designs athletic facilities and will be doing the design work for the track pro bono. He recommended a drainage system and a porous surface and solid one underneath to prevent water from building up under the track.

Martin Tragni said he felt the money being requested is more than what is needed and asked why the reports compiled have not been made available to the public.

It’s not right for the board to approve without letting the community see the facts,” said Tragni. “We have not seen a report that explains all these details. There are no alternatives in the reports for a different type of track.”

Community School Roof

Originally estimated at $1 million, the new cost for the roof has risen to $1.3 million to cover unexpected work. The roof, installed in 1995, has seen a number of leaks, particularly with the recent rainstorms. Holcomb said the work can be completed by the end of summer and would last 25-30 years.

During the discussion it was asked why the district didn’t go through the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which can reimburse renovation or building replacements up to 50 percent. Holcomb explained that if the work was partially funded by the MSBA, the town would need to keep it as a school for 15 years. It’s been discussed that the school may be re-purposed or sold in the near future.

Once approval is given, then we can make the cross sectional cuts [in the roof],” said Holcomb. “Then we’ll know the extent of damage and go out to bid.”

Richards Memorial Library Windows

At a recent Town Meeting, a $130,000 appropriation was made to repair the 73 windows at the library, which range in age from 56 to 125 years. An additional $70,000 is needed to cover the work, which includes installing thermal glass. Other options were looked at, but they would impact the appearance.

Library Director Frank Ward said there are a lot of smaller projects including slate and dormer repair, gutter replacement, and work to the floor of the front porch. Gallagher has suggested that they be rolled into two $20,000 and $100,000 projects.

If money is left over we can reallocate what is left for other library projects,” said Gallagher.

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