EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 12, 2014

Pelham approves $22.6M high school project

McDevitt, Viger re-elected as selectmen

By John Toole

---- — PELHAM — Screams of delight filled the Pelham High gym last night as officials announced voters approved a $22.6 million high school expansion and renovation.

Three-fifths voter approval was needed. It passed, 2,234-1,403, with about 61 percent of the vote.

“We’re going places,” School Board member Deb Ryan said after the vote.

She had worked five years to come up with a solution for school crowding and needed facility improvements.

“This is a huge night,” Ryan said. “This gives us the ability to give the kids an environment they deserve.”

A two-story addition will open for the 2015-2016 year; renovations are expected to be finished in early 2016. But even this fall, students will see more parking at the high school.

Superintendent Amanda Lecaroz held a hard hat that Ryan gave her.

“This whole community got together and did this,” Lecaroz said. “This was all about being positive.”

The school is an asset to the community, she said.

“This is not just for the kids,” Lecaroz said. “It raises the values of homes.”

School Board Chairman Brian Carton said school officials couldn’t be happier.

“This is a great day for the school district and the whole town, really,” Carton said.

Resident Kathryn Salvati, a mother of two children who was wearing a “Say yes to PHS” T-shirt, said she voted for the high school project.

“It’s good for the children and the town,” Salvati said.

Resident Greg Tanguay said he voted yes on the high school project because of son Jordan, 10, and daughter Hailey, 6, who accompanied him to the polls.

“I want to see them go somewhere nice,” Tanguay said.

In contested races, voters re-elected Selectmen William McDevitt and Doug Viger in a three-way race for two seats.

Viger led the field with 1,964 votes to McDevitt’s 1,943. Paul Moriarity received 1,268 votes.

Roseann Cares, Cindy McGhee and Darlene Michaud were elected library trustees.

Michaud topped Mrinmoyee Das, 2,143-327, in a two-way race for a two-year term.

Cares had 1,223 votes and McGhee 1,158 in a four-way race for two three-year terms. Trailing them were Ann Clark Balcom with 1,090 votes and David Sweeney with 987.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a mixed use zoning district for the town center, 2,550-967.

They narrowly approved a new contract for police, 1,765-1,755, but rejected a new contract for firefighters, 1,640-1,881.

A revamped elderly exemption was approved, 2,334-1,148.

Voters approved the $13.4 million town budget, 1,842-1,640, and a $27.6 million school budget, 2,453-1,130.

Voter turnout was about 41 percent, which was better than normal.

Moderator Phil Currier said typical average turnout for Town Meeting would be in the mid to high 30s.