By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Student safety was the topic of discussion at Monday's monthly School Board meeting after members decided they don't want to wait for a lock upgrade for the Elementary School initially scheduled for school year 2020-21. They recommended a Homeland Security Agency audit should be done sooner.
Member Sue Allen told the board that the lock upgrade, which synchronizes all of the doors and locks in the school and is projected to cost $80,000, could take precedence over some masonry repointing in the gym, priced at $71,000.
The goal of the administration is to have about $200,000 a year in facility upgrades so as to keep the tax commitment somewhat level and to avoid spikes in the rate for bigger projects.
The lock upgrade is partnered with interior and parking lighting upgrades to the High School and Middle School, which cost $120,000, and both will now be recommended for 2019-2020.
The brick repointing is partnered with a wireless infrastructure upgrade and is now tentatively scheduled for school year 2021-22.
In the interim and at the suggestion of Gilmanton School Board member Adam Mini, the administration is looking at a lockdown system similar to that at Gilmanton Elementary School that was recently install for about $10,000. Allen and other board members asked administrators to get an estimate and, after reporting back, possibly include it in the regular budget proposal.
Looming in the distance are about $870,000 in today's dollars for renovating the locker rooms at the High School. The two share a common wall, and Business Administrator Scott Isabelle said that because of asbestos abatement, there is no way the district can replace one locker room without doing the other.
The other major project projected for the future is the replacement of the Elementary School roof, which they projected would cost about $800,000 if done now.
While both of these items are scheduled for school years 2022 and beyond, the board had some discussion about creating capital reserve funds to save money for them and again try to keep the future tax commitment from spiking.
For 2017-18, the School District has recommended resurfacing the all-weather track, replacing some of the obsolete lighting and old curtains in the high school auditorium, and upgrading six classroom systems projectors and smart boards.
For 2018-19 the district recommends replacing the Middle School roof for $335,000. Isabelle said the current roof is under warranty until then but is starting to shrink away from the roof edges. He said if the district waits until after the warranty expires, it will be responsible for all the repairs from 2019 forward.
The town Capital Improvement Projects Committee meets next week and the school and town recommendations will be reviewed so members can try not to overburden the taxpayers in any one given year.
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