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July 3, 2013

Renovations underway in N.H. schools

With classrooms empty, maintenance and renovations are underway

Students have long departed for the summer, but area schools are still bustling with activity.

Planned maintenance and school renovations are underway across the county.

“We have our usual summer maintenance list,” said Jane Simard, business administrator for the Derry School District. “But there are no major projects on tap for this summer.”

Within a week of school ending, a walkway paving project at West Running Brook School in Derry was completed. Simard said Derry schools customarily will do painting, carpet replacement and electrical work every summer.

While Derry is in relatively good shape, other districts wish they could do more.

In Londonderry, voters rejected a $4.5 million district-wide renovation and construction bond at Town Meeting in March.

“We’ve had to put many of our projects on hold,” Londonderry business administrator Peter Curro said. “It’s frustrating, but no is no.”

Curro said district officials had hoped to do major repairs to the roof at Londonderry Middle School and paving at Matthew Thornton School this summer. Instead, they will settle for replacing the gym floor at North School and doing a minor roofing project at the high school.

Those projects and other smaller renovations will cost about $500,000, Curro said.

That’s the same amount they will be spending in the Timberlane School District. Facilities manager Jim Hughes said replacing modular classrooms at Timberlane Regional High School is the most extensive project he will tackle this year.

“We’ll be removing old units and bringing in new units,” he said.

Hughes said many of the projects being done are by subcontractors, but his staff tries to do as many projects as possible by themselves.

“It saves the taxpayers a lot of money,” he said. “Anything my people can do will cost about two-thirds less.”

Windham schools were set to have a routine summer, but after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the School Board voted to spend up to $178,000 to upgrade the security systems.

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