By Alex Malm
The Londonderry School Board heard a presentation regarding a potential new School District Office during the Jan. 6 School Board meeting.
School Board member Bob Slater, who served on the committee that explored the possibility of building a new district office, said that a lot of people worked hard on it.
“It’s taken a lot of team effort in a short amount of time,” said Slater.
Slater explained that the School Board made a move to go into a lease in 2017 for their current district office because their previous building had many issues including a lack of space.
“There were a lot of things that went into that decision,” said Slater.
Since August the School Board has selected Trident as the Owner’s Project Manager which has helped the school district come up with plans and an estimated cost for the project.
In total it was announced that the new District Office would cost approximately $4,799,082.
Slater said that one of the reasons why he thinks it’s a good idea to go forward with the project now is because it’s unlikely that the cost of supplies will go down.
“One thing we know is that prices usually don’t go down,” said Slater.
Londonderry Business Administrator Peter Curro said that since they already have to pay for the leased building they are essentially paying to own the building instead by going with the proposed district office.
“What we’re doing here is basically swapping a lease for a bond payment,” said Curro, who said that the estimated bond payment is a little bit higher but doesn’t think it’s significant. “This is almost a complete swap from a rent lease situation to a bond capital asset acquisition. It’s almost that simple,” Curro added later in the meeting.
Right now the School District is paying $206,130 a year for their lease payment for their current district office. If the bond is approved for the new office the payments will average $274,500 a year for 20 years, Curro said.
If approved the new building will be located next to Town Hall which is where the District Office was before.
Curro said that he thinks where the proposed project would go is the best location.
“Where we are putting this building is probably the 1A option to relocate the SAU office,” said Curro.
As part of the project the Town would be utilizing two offices and a storage area which they will be able to access through a locked hallway.
School Board member Nancy Hendricks asked if they have the option of taking back that space if the school district needs it in the future.
Slater said that is something they can look into.
School Board Chair Amy Finamore said that while she planned on voting to move it to a bond hearing she wasn’t sure if she would be supporting it.
“I do plan to support moving it to the bond hearing but I still do feel very mixed about whether or not I’m going to support it at the bond hearing,” she said.
Slater said that he thinks that going forward with the project will be a benefit.
“I just want to let everybody know that this will benefit, I believe the School District, the taxpayers and the community,” said Slater.
The School Board ultimately voted in favor of sending the project to a bond hearing on Jan. 18.
During that meeting they will vote on whether or not they should send it to the Town Meeting as a warrant article.
Note: At the Monday night, Jan. 10 Town Council meeting, it was stated that the town had yet to receive a lease agreement needed for the plan to be on the March ballot.