EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 20, 2012

Voters won't face Pelham High question in March

PELHAM — School officials will wait a year to pursue big improvements at Pelham High School.

Officials had considered asking voters at Town Meeting for $700,000 to pay for architectural and engineering fees, but that's now off the table.

"The high school warrant article is off the ballot for this year with the intention of bringing the whole project to voters in March 2014," superintendent-elect Amanda Lecaroz said yesterday. "We are continuing to work with architects, site and structural engineers and a construction firm to further develop the concept of a renovation-addition."

The school district has two other facility investments headed before voters this March.

Pelham needs to find a home for School Administrative Unit 28, after a split with Windham next July. Lecaroz is scheduled to succeed retiring Superintendent Henry LaBranche then.

Selectmen plan a hearing Jan. 8 concerning a proposal to renovate six rooms at Town Hall for SAU offices.

Salem-based Trident Group, consulting with Pelham officials, estimates the project could cost nearly $850,000.

But that would also include new windows and a new roof for Town Hall, Lecaroz said.

Officials see the renovation as the best option because the town otherwise would have to lease office space and own nothing in the end, she said.

The school district also will pursue a $1.75 million kindergarten project for Pelham Elementary.

Officials are hoping to take advantage of state kindergarten construction aid that could total as much as $1 million for the proposed addition.

School officials will be seeking approval for a $27 million budget.

The Budget Committee plans a public hearing on the school and town budgets in January.

The town deliberative session will be Tuesday, Feb. 5, with the school deliberative Wednesday, Feb. 6. Town Meeting will be Tuesday, March 12.

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