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MUHS vote set for Tuesday

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January 8, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Residents in the seven Addison Central Supervisory Union towns will vote this Tuesday, Jan. 9, on $935,500 in repairs and improvements to Middlebury Union High School, including a new elevator, new hot water storage system and extensive roof work on the “H-wing” of the MUHS building.

If the project sounds familiar, that’s because district voters on Feb. 28, 2006, agreed to spend $486,000 to replace the MUHS elevator and hot water system. The school’s current freight-style elevator doesn’t meet the state’s fire safety laws, while the existing hot water system is 50 years old and needs to be replaced, according to ACSU officials.

While voters approved the project last winter, school officials quickly learned that the voted money was insufficient to do the job. The lowest of three bids received from prospective contractors came in $60,000 above the $486,000 budget.

That prompted ACSU officials to revisit the project last summer. They revised their figures on the elevator and hot water system, but also added in the roof work. At issue is the older, deteriorating H-wing portion of the roof located above the new elevator.

Officials estimate the new roof project would cost around $120,000. The total $935,500 request includes a $54,500 contingency and $72,000 for various architectural, clerical, permitting and abatement expenses. Plans call for the previously approved $486,000 to be applied to the project, along with $449,5000 from the fiscal year 2006 unreserved fund balance (currently estimated at $508,998) to cover the project budget. Officials have said the project will be eligible for $260,650 in state aid.

If voters approve the project this Tuesday, workers will spend the next four months assembling the elevator. The elevator, roof and hot water storage system installation would take place this summer.

Tuesday’s vote is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the MUHS auditorium. It is open to registered voters in Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge.

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