EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 10, 2013

Salem selectmen OK funds for school renovations

SALEM — The funding of renovations at three elementary schools received a small boost Monday when selectmen authorized $50,000 for the project.

Selectmen unanimously approved the transfer of impact fee money toward $16.2 million in improvements to the Fisk, Soule and Haigh schools.

The money will be specifically used to fund the project’s bond payments, Selectmen’s Chairman Everett McBride said.

Impact fees are collected from developers to help fund the additional public services required for their construction projects. These include the need for more police and fire services, and increases in student enrollment.

The $50,000 request comes at a time when the school district is completing architectural designs for the renovations and prepares for construction, according to Superintendent Michael Delahanty.

The first-year payment on the bond is $243,100 — one-half of one year’s interest payment.

The Planning Board was scheduled to review plans for the project at its meeting last night although board approval is not required, Delahanty said. The schools must meet town public safety codes and state Department of Education specifications, he said.

“The Planning Board is the last stop in getting the work underway,” Delahanty said Monday. “We’re still on our schedule.”

The superintendent and School Board members have said the three schools — each more than 50 years old — need substantial upgrades.

Construction will begin in the next several weeks and continue through August 2014, Delahanty said.

Although the work is not expected to have a major impact on staff and students, Delahanty said, Fisk and Soule will be shut down for at least a few weeks this summer while workers remove potentially hazardous asbestos floor tiles.

“That requires the schools to be sealed up,” he said.

The schools’ skeleton summer staffs will work out of a portable trailer while the asbestos tiles are removed, Delahanty said.

“The floors will be done by the time the students return,” he said.

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