Board takes up space needs

LYNDEBOROUGH – The Central School needs more space to provide special services, parking for staff and visitors, and storage.

The oldest section of the school, built in 1949, has inadequate ventilation and some air quality problems, and contains rooms that are too small to meet current state standards, according to a draft report by the committee that evaluated the school’s space needs.

Other sections of the building do not meet various life-safety codes either.

These and other issues will be presented for discussion at an open forum at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Central School. Copies of the draft report will be available.

The Building Options Committee hopes to get all of the information about the school out into the community for study and consideration and then hold a second hearing on Nov. 15 to determine what recommendation will be made to the school board. Whatever course is decided will likely result in one or more warrant articles to be discussed at the annual deliberative session in February.

The committee was formed about a year ago. Their charge was to understand state and federal regulations and requirements for schools, consider the indoor air quality, and provide the School Board with a recommendation concerning the future of the school. The study included an extensive town-wide survey.

The committee could not reach a unanimous decision and will present four options for discussion. They include two options for a new school on another site, extensive renovation to the present school, and use of portable classrooms.

The study assumed sixth grade would stay at the Central School and that kindergarten would be included in the near future. The school currently holds about 100 students.

During their fact finding, the study committee gathered 22 options from suggestions from townspeople and previous studies. Some of these options were eliminated by further study, including the part-time use of another town building and renting space at the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School. Using another building, such as Citizens’ Hall, was found to be impractical, and the Co-operative Board said it had no rooms to rent.

It has been suggested the school district purchase adjoining land, but a site walk found most of the neighboring land to be too wet.

The committee also eliminated the cheapest estimates, noting that cheaper isn’t always better in the long run. They also eliminated the “maximum design,” which had a price tag of $3.26 million for new construction and $2.6 million for renovation.

Middle-range cost for a new school is estimated at $2.8 million, and $1.8 million for renovation. Cost of portables with some renovation is $875,000.

The Study Committee is made up of School Board members Ron Baron, Geoff Brock and Fran Bujak, Principal Sue Tussing, and community members Karl Hagen, Bob Rogers, and Belle Weigle. Input was also received from teachers Linda Buttrick and Laura Bujak, architect Kyle Barker of Jordan and Barker L.L.P., Assistant Superintendent Carolann Wais and community members Wendy Baron, Ruth Johnston, James McEntee, Warren Murdough and Mark Weisflog.