Board may borrow $1M for school projects

Published: Wednesday, February 25, 2009
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — The Board of Education is considering borrowing $1 million to improve the air quality at Elisabeth C. Adams Middle School.

Board members discussed the proposed capital projects at a workshop meeting this week and are scheduled to vote on them Thursday night, Board of Education Chairman William Bloss said. The work would require voters to approve bonding at a referendum.

When the Board of Education voted in September to replace Guilford High School and continue studying whether to rebuild Adams, board members agreed that it was necessary to complete some health and safety improvement at the middle school right away.

Bloss said air circulation is one of the major issues at Adams. Last year, the school district conducted extensive drainage work at the school aimed at solving a persistent flooding problem. So far, flooding has not recurred, although administrators have said they are waiting for the spring thaw to see whether the problem has been solved.

The possible new work would involve adding capacity to the school’s electrical system so it could handle more air conditioners and circulators, Bloss said.

“The old part of the building has no air circulation at all — it was built in the days before they had any kind of air handling system,” he said. The original part of the Church Street school dates to 1938.

The projects under consideration are expected to cost about $1 million, Superintendent Thomas Forcella said. The board is also considering asking voters to approve bonding to repair roofs at several schools, which is maintenance work that the district does annually.

The town’s budget referendum, which would include any bonding questions approved by the Board of Finance, is tentatively scheduled for April 14, according to the town Web site.

Bloss said there were projects left off the list because of the adverse economic climate this year. Last year, voters approved about $3 million in bonding for the drainage work at Adams, a new roof at A.W. Cox Elementary School, reconfiguring the parking lot at Abraham Baldwin Middle School and digging new wells at Melissa Jones School.

“There’s one roof at the high school that we think we can put off, and anything like that that we can do (we will),” Bloss said. “Anything that can be delayed without conditions deteriorating to a degree that far greater expense would be involved, we’re postponing.”

Also at Thursday’s meeting, board members will receive new proposals for the high school replacement that incorporate the building’s most recent addition, done in 1998.

The board has asked the architects, Fletcher Thompson, to preserve the 25,000-square-foot math and science wing in the hope of reducing the anticipated $112 million cost of the new school.

Thursday’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Adams Middle School chorus room.

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