Matthew Thornton Paving Project Stalled by Voters

The second phase of repairs to the parking lot at Matthew Thornton Elementary School, which had been planned for this summer, will not be taking place, after voters in March did not approve a bond article that would have authorized it.

“The article needed 60 percent to pass and it only received about 58.9 percent of the vote,” said Chuck Zappala, school district director of buildings and grounds. “It passed with the majority but not enough for the 60 percent requirement.”

The projects included in the bond article that failed totaled $4.725 million. “Since there was a specific list of work and the voters did not approve the article, we cannot do any of the work, even if money becomes available from another source,” Zappala explained. “Basically, no is no. The exception would be an ’emergency’ type of repair, such as a boiler replacement or a major roof failure, but even then we would need to petition the court and receive approval before proceeding.”

Zappala said the parking lot patches that were done last year were put in place knowing that this year there would be more extensive work. “Last year we put in patches that would have been torn up with the work we were going to do this year, so they were temporary to begin with,” he said. “Now that the work is not being done, those patches will deteriorate even more and if the work isn’t done next year, there could be problems.”

As it stands now, the parking lot is difficult to plow in the winter because of low and high spots. “It really needs to get done,” Zappala said of the project.
The first half of the paving project took place last summer. Zappala said the district could try again for the parking lot project next year.

A separate warrant article, for the Maintenance Trust Fund for $300,000, was approved at the March election, and several project now in progress throughout the school district will be paid from this account. They include phase 3 of the Londonderry High School roofing project, a gym floor at North Elementary School, athletic field improvements, welding repairs to heating system pipes at South Elementary School and Londonderry High School, and repairs to underground electric lines at the high school.

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