School Board Moves Auditorium to Top Spot for Capital Improvements

The School Board revised the District’s Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), moving up the auditorium project in the document.

The revised CIP, which is to be submitted to the CIP Committee, a subcommittee of the Planning Board that will meet over the summer to finalize the document, recommends funding architecture and engineering costs for the auditorium at a cost of $500,000 in 2017 and auditorium construction at a cost of $9 million in 2018.

“This was an up-or-down vote,” member Leitha Reilly said of the auditorium. “This was a warrant article. The voters said no – that’s fine, but we had momentum, we had a good plan, and perhaps the timing was wrong. But my one vote is I’d like to see it up again.”

If architecture and engineering costs are to be subsidized in 2017, they would have to be approved by the voters in next year’s election.

In addition to the auditorium costs, the CIP includes architecture and engineering costs up to $200,000 in 2021 for a new District office and $3 million for District office construction costs in 2022.

Noting the District office was a $2.5 million construction project, Chairman Steve Young said he asked Facilities Director Chuck Zappala if it would be possible to renovate the space.

“We have asked the architect about expansion and the answer is no,” Business Administrator Peter Curro said. The idea at one time was to expand the office in the second floor.”

“I’m not against removing the District office, it’s just that $3 million is a big nut,” Young said. “It’s always been helpful to have ‘the clam shack’ as our badge of honor.’”

Curro said he will pass the CIP, as revised, to the CIP Committee, which will begin meeting in June.

Member John Laferriere noted the revisions to the CIP do not mean the Board will advocate to put the auditorium project on the warrant or budget at this time.

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