By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY â€” Voters in the Addison Central Supervisory Union on Jan. 9 will be asked once again to approve funding for a new elevator project and hot water storage system at Middlebury Union High School, only this new request also calls for extensive roof work at the MUHS building. The additional work will push the price tag to $935,5000.
School district voters on Feb. 28 agreed to spend $486,000 to replace the elevator and hot water storage system at MUHS. The current freight-style elevator at the school doesnâ€™t meet the stateâ€™s fire safety laws, while the buildingâ€™s hot water system is 50 years old.
District officials had hoped to see the projects completed this past summer. But all three bids for the work came in at figures that exceeded â€” by at least $60,000 â€” the $486,000 available for the projects.
That prompted the UD-3 school boardâ€™s facilities committee and ACSU staff to re-examine, and re-bid, the work. They came up with a new, $935,500 plan that includes $120,000 in repairs to the roof over the â€œH-wingâ€? on the MUHS roof, in the same area in which the new elevator will be installed.
â€œThis section (of roof) is 30 years old,â€? said Bruce MacIntyre, director of buildings and grounds for UD-3. â€œIt has some leaks, and it has been on our project list for at least five years.â€?
MacIntyre and UD-3 board members determined that the roof work would dovetail nicely with installation of the new elevator. Itâ€™s a project that will involve stripping off the old galvanized steel and replacing it with a new standing seam metal roof.
Officials estimate the new roof project will cost around $120,000. The total $935,500 request also includes the elevator; hot water storage system; a $54,500 contingency; and a combined total of $72,000 for architectural, clerical, permitting and abatement expenses.
Plans call for the previously approved $486,000 to be applied to the project. The district wants to take an additional $449,500 from the fiscal year 2006 unreserved fund balance (currently estimated at $508,998) to cover the balance of the project. ACSU Superintendent Lee Sease said the project is eligible for $280,650 in state aid, though it remains uncertain when the Legislature will come through with the check.
Voters will be asked to endorse that move at a special meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m., at MUHS. Residents in the district-member towns of Middlebury, Bridport, Cornwall, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge are eligible to vote.
Officials noted it will take four months to build the new MUHS elevator. If voters give their consent on Jan. 9, the project could proceed this summer.
â€œThe sooner we start this, the less time construction and kids will be co-mingled in the building,â€? Sease said.