LHS renovation project can be expanded because of savings in sprinkler project

LACONIA – The School Board got some good news last night when it learned that part of the sprinkler installation project at the High School would cost less than anticipated and the savings would allow for additional circulation and ventilation in some interior classrooms.

As part of the initial engineering for a $1.8-million QZAB, or Qualified Zone Academy (interest-free) Bond project, the school thought the glass in the main entry way would have to be removed and retrofitted with fire-safe glass or a wall.

The retrofit of fire-safe windows would have cost at least $100,000.

This area is where the old Huot Technical Center was added to the eastern building of the high school. The former outside wall became an inside wall with windows that open into the foyer for some air.

Business Administrator Ed Emond said after reviewing state fire code with the local fire department and the N.H. State Fire Marshal, the district learned the foyer needs only to be a "smoke-free" barrier and not a fire barrier. He said the cost would be a few thousand dollars as opposed to the six-figures the district had anticipated.

Emond said the savings will be redirected toward adding some ventilation and air circulation to the class rooms in the same area that do not have windows that open to the outside.

The QZAB project will add sprinklers to the High School, improve the air-handling and circulation within the buildings, install air conditioning in the gymnasium and repair the air conditioning in the auditorium.

The School Board also voted unanimously to have the city issue the bond in the aggregate principal amount of $1,828,000 and sell it to Bank of New Hampshire at the price of par, with the length of the term to be 25 years.

In other school board news, Superintendent Terri Forsten said that kindergarten registration opened one week ago and so far 116 children have registered for the 2014-2015 school year.

She said the district plans on having eight full-day kindergarten classes next year instead of the nine they have now.

She anticipates 2014-2015 enrollment will be around 150 to 160 kindergarteners. This year there are 173 kindergarteners.