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Gilmanton board says school is full, portable classroom needed

GILMANTON — The School Board has recommended adding a 2014 warrant article that, if passed, would add a modular classroom to the elementary school campus.

Superintendent John Fauci said yesterday that the proposed cost for the modular unit is $95,448. He said it would be connected to the school by a corridor so the students wouldn't have to go outside.

Fauci said enrollment has gradually been rising at the elementary school, hovering this year at just over 400 students.

"We've had a high of 408 and a low of 400," said Fauci noting that children often leave a school district or move into a school district during the school year.

He said several years ago the Gilmanton Elementary School topped out at 420 students and then dropped to as low as 386. Over the past few years, he said the numbers have been steadily increasing with higher student counts concentrated into the lower grades.

Enrollment numbers presented at the November meeting showed 50 kindergarten students, 46, first graders, 51 second graders, 42 third graders, 39 fourth graders, 36 fifth graders, 46 sixth graders, 49 seventh graders, and 44 eighth graders for a total of 402.

Fauci said the recommended modular warrant article is a prelude to the creation of a space needs committee — that will likely be comprised of a variety of people in the community, including two school board members, one administrator from the SAU, one building-level administrator, one Planning Board member, one Budget Committee member, two teachers, two parents, one para-educator, and one member of the community at large.

Draft minutes of the November meeting said that the committee will be tasked with a historical analysis of the school through the last 10 years as well as demographic studies and a walk-through of the building.

He recalled specific plans that were developed about seven or eight years ago for an addition and recommended the committee be provided with copies of that study as well.

The School Board has adopted a proposed operating budget for 2014-2015 of $9,766,221 which represents a less than 1 percent increase over this year.

Of that operating budget, Fauci said 44 student freshman are expected to be enrolled at Gilford High School next year under a 20-year agreement signed in 2003. Thirty-six seniors will graduate in June, meaning a net gain of eight students will be tuitioned to Gilford in 2014-215. About 30 percent of Gilford's High School students are from Gilmanton, or about 140 students.

Fauci said that if the projected total number of students tuitioned to Gilford for 2014-2-15 remains the same and the estimated $18,407 per pupil cost provided by Gilford School District officials stays the same, the tuition portion of the Gilmanton operation budget will increase by $255,000.

The School Board will present the proposed budget to the Budget Committee at 6 p.m. tonight at the Gilmanton Academy building.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 01:38

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3 teens arrested for Boys & Girls Club vandalism

LACONIA — A day after the discovery that the Boys and Girls Club of the Lake Region had been vandalized over the weekend, police took three juveniles into custody yesterday morning in connection with the incident.

School Resource Officer Steve Orton, accompanied by detectives, arrested the trio, all boys from Laconia aged 14, 15 and 16. They were charged with burglary and criminal mischief and released to their parents pending prosecution in the juvenile division of the 4th Circuit Court — Laconia.

Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the club, said that staff arrived to open the club early Monday morning to find "significant damage throughout the building."
He said yesterday that much of the damage was caused by water from a sink on the ground-level floor that was blocked up and left running, which poured through the ceiling and down the walls to the floor below. Adams said that carpets, furniture, books, games and were soaked while drywall and ceiling tiles must be replaced. Fire extinguishers were discharged. Foodstuffs, including ketchup, were strewn about the inside of the club and kitchen utensils were stuck into the walls. Adams said that walls must be repainted and several doors and windows replaced.

After initially hoping to return to the building in a week, Adams expected that it will be two or three weeks before the club is able to reopen. In the meantime, the building will be closed until further notice and both the pre-school program and Hands Across the Table, the free evening meal offered at the club on Tuesdays, will be suspended. But, the after-school program will operate at Laconia Middle School during the interim.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region moved to the former St. James Episocpal Church on North Main Street in June and last month launched a capital campaign to acquire and remodel the building.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 01:34

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Vandals cause ‘significant’ damage to Boys & Girls Club

LACONIA — The new home of the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region was vandalized over the weekend, forcing the facility to be closed for at least a week. Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the club, said staff arrived yesterday morning to find "significant damage throughout the building."

According to police much of the damage was caused by water from a sink that was left running. Foodstuffs were also strewn about the inside of the club. Otherwise Adams declined to disclose the specific nature of the damage in order not to compromise the investigation of the incident.

The chief said that it is unknown how many people broke into the building — the former St. James Episcopal Church at 876 North Main St. — or precisely when the vandalism took place. However, he said that patrol officers and detectives gathered evidence at the scene and are pursuing several leads.

Adams said, "Cleaning services and contractors have been contacted and we're hopeful that the club will be up and running in a week." Meanwhile, Cheryl Avery, executive director of the club, said that the building will be closed until further notice and both the pre-school program and Hands Across the Table, the free evening meal offered at the club on Tuesdays, will be suspended until the damage is overcome. But, she stressed that the after-school program will operate at Laconia Middle School throughout this week, beginning today, Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 03:50

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Gunstock Inn purchased by local couple

GILFORD – The Gunstock Inn and Fitness Center has been purchased by Les and Linda Schuster, the current operators of three Weirs Beach area lodging facilities.

Les Schuster said yesterday that he and his wife have been working on the purchase for a little over a year – or shortly after the former owners shut the doors citing a poor economy.

"Now that the economy is better, we've been able to get it all in order," said Schuster.

He said he and his wife plan on opening the hotel or lodging portion of the Inn before Christmas and are working on some Ski-and-Stay packages with the Gunstock Mountain Resort. There are 25 rooms at Gunstock Inn, Schuster said. In addition to the hotel and fitness center, the building also houses a restaurant.

Schuster said he already has similar packages involving Gunstock and his other three lodging properties – the Lazy E Motor Inn, the Bear Tree Lodge, and the Lakeside Getaway.

"We have hired a staff of four senior level employees and a housekeeper," Schuster said, noting that they are local people. "This is the most tied to the community we've ever been."

He said the restaurant will be called Schuster's Tavern and he hopes it will be serving food by February. He said they would start with dinner and add from there.

As to the Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool, Schuster said they need to get their permits but couldn't make any applications until they officially owned the property. "That's about all that's holding us back," he said.

He said he would be "open to any uses that were in place before it closed" - including the Gunstock Stingrays who used the Gunstock Inn as its home pool until it closed but said the primary purpose of the pool would be to support the inn and its guests. Schuster said there will also be gym memberships.

Schuster said in a media release that the Gunstock Inn was originally built as barracks for workers who came to Gilford to build the Gunstock Ski Area – one of the first projects of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal" era.

He said the Inn has a history of being family owned and operated and that his family plans on doing the same thing.

Schuster said he and Linda are working with the Service Credit Union to provide the funding needed to restore the Inn to "its former glory" and to meet the needs of today's travelers and guests.

At one point, the Inn was being considered as an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility by the owners of the Phoenix House who ultimately decided on a Northfield site for their business.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 03:50

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