School Renovation Committee issues final report

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By Shirley Murtha

Gordon Bischoff, representing the School Renovation Committee that was charged with overseeing the infrastructure changes to the elementary schools following the closing of Kearns, gave the committee’s final report to the Board of Selectmen on Nov. 7. The bottom line of the two-page memo was that the work came in under the original $800,000 budget. Even the additional $40,000 contingency granted by the board when more asbestos was discovered, was not needed.
Bischoff praised the contractors hired by the town for completing the job on time, some working weekends to keep to the schedule. The original end-date goal was Aug. 19, and even with the continued findings of asbestos, the project was completed on Aug. 22.
In addition to renovations to the schools’ interiors, their playgrounds were adjusted and re-configured to the appropriate age group. Only three items were left to be carried out as of Nov. 7: signs on the buildings, numbers on some classrooms and six feet of heating duct to be installed.
In addition to Chairman Bischoff, the Renovation Committee members were Mark Fiorentino, Bill Kennedy, Steve Royer and Jim Sansone.
Alcohol Approval
The board granted approval for alcohol use at a bridal party on April 22 at the Salmon Brook Park facility from 3 – 6 p.m. Requirements for insurance and other regulations have been met.
Ordinance Approval Deferred
Despite a public hearing prior to the selectmen’s meeting on Nov. 7, no action was taken on approving an ordinance to protect the town from illicit storm water discharge because some groups asked for more information on the subject. A second public hearing will be held prior to the Nov. 21 BOS meeting at 7:15 p.m.
Town Manager’s Report
Town Manager Bill Smith reported that tax collection is a small percentage ahead of previous years at this time, with 56 percent having been received. All other revenues and expenses are on target as the town begins preparations for snow and ice control during the upcoming months.
Smith noted that income from Holcomb Farm events was beginning to show promise. The North Barn and Workshop have been rented for various town and club meetings, wedding parties and retirement parties. Further property enhancements include enclosing the walkway between the Main Barn and the North Barn and continuing efforts to improve the sound system in the North Barn. Some carpet in the North Barn needs to be removed and replaced with flooring appropriate for dancing.
School Survey Update
As liaison to the Kearns School Use Survey Committee, Selectman Mark Neumann reported that there has been a very good response to the online and paper survey. A public information session was held on Nov. 15; a diverse group of residents attended. Chairwoman Peg Chapple described the committee’s charge and gave a description of the building and the property. Residents provided a variety of possibilities for the use of the building should it be kept by the town, and also what purposes they felt would be a good fit with the neighborhood if the property is sold. The committee expects to hold a second public information session in February, by which time the survey results will have been compiled. The deadline for submitting the survey was Nov. 23.
The board approved the appointment of Matt Brady to the Conservation Commission.
There remain two vacancies on town commissions: one on the Conservation Commission and one on the Commission on Aging. If you are interested in serving on either of these commissions, contact Democratic Town Chairman Jim Lofink 860-810-0274, Republican Town Chairman Mark Neumann 860-653-9668, or the Town Manager’s office at 860-844-5300.