GILFORD — After completing a mechanical review of the elementary school, independent engineers have recommended $1,788,400 in repairs to be done over the next 20 years to various mechanical, heating and cooling, and plumbing systems.
The repairs, Superintendent Kent Hemingway told the School Board last night, will cost about $27 per square foot while a replacement building would cost $306 per square foot. The elementary school has 66,000 square feet.
"It is well worth the investment," Hemingway said.
Hemingway said the repairs ideally could be scheduled to take place as part a 20-year-Capital Improvement Plan. He noted that the systems that should be replaced have been well maintained but, unfortunately, they are old.
Business Administrator Scott Isabelle noted that many will have sticker shock when they see $1.788-million but the engineers have set out a priority replacement plan for all of the mechanical systems and stretched it over 20 years.
Chair Karen Thurston asked if the district should be saving for some of these repairs, but Isabelle noted there was a 10-year capital improvement fund, but that there has been a shift in the way taxpayers support it and in recent years they have refused to fund it.
The engineering report, which is 37 pages in length, is a comprehensive plan that was part of this budget year's capital plan.
The district has replaced the roof, changed the boiler and replaced the fuel tank, said Hemingway, who noted that the fuel tank replacement was to meet Environmental Protections standards.
He said the HVAC equipment on top of the roof is likely one of the items that will need replacing first.
The engineering report details only those items that will need replacing over the next 20 years in the building itself. However, Hemingway noted the parking lot still needs immediate paving.
To keep the budget low this year and to pay for the boiler and the fuel tank, the School Board eliminated paving from the budget, but Hemingway said the sidewalks are beginning to crumble and the pavement is degrading rapidly. He said this will be one of the bigger capital budget requests for the upcoming budget year of 2016-17.
Buildings and Grounds Administrator Tim Bartlett said the last time the parking lot was paved was 1991.
Hemingway said the engineering study will serve as a template for the Budget Committee to evaluate each repair as the School District begins to budget for them.
He recommended getting contractor prices before each year's budgeting to get firmer numbers than what is estimated in the engineering study.
In other school district news, the board voted unanimously to increase the price of elementary school lunches from $2 per day to $2.25 per day beginning next year, to continuing buying fresh fruit and vegetables for lunches.
This past year, Hemingway said the district received a grant for the increased costs of about $18,000, but the grant expires and the school likely won't qualify for one for next year because the free-and reduced-lunch population isn't high enough in Gilford.
Gilmanton Elementary School charges $1.95 for lunch.
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