Voters could be asked this fall to replace Lamoille Union High School’s 50-year-old gym.
The school district would sell bonds to finance the project, and the plans likely won’t include a new performing arts center, as proposed as recently as last month.
The school district’s finance and capital committee told the Lamoille North school board May 13 that a hoped-for June bond vote ought to be pushed out until September, giving the district enough time to get enough information out to the community.
The gym surpassed its expected 40-year life span a decade ago, says Dylan Laflam, the Lamoille North facilities director, hired in 2014. His most recent estimate for renovating the half-century-old gym tops $1.5 million.
Add to that upgrades to the auditorium stage — which is actually part of the gym’s infrastructure, despite the hallway separating the two — as well as roof repairs and kitchen upgrades, and the price comes in around $2.2 million.
The capital committee informed the school board that repairs to the supervisory union’s central office, located on Cricket Hill abutting the high school property, wouldn’t be as extensive as they feared last month.
With his recent gym bond proposals, Laflam had offered something of an a la carte add-on list, if the school board wanted to include other repairs or additions.
One of those items was a new performing arts studio/classroom in a nook between the auditorium, band room and middle school. Since the space already has walls on three sides, it wouldn’t cost nearly as much as new construction, about $350,000, Laflam said.
Another project would have been resurfacing all of the school’s parking lots for $450,000. The committee figured it could tackle paving little by little, in sections.
What am I bid?
The school board took action on a number of smaller spending items May 13.
• The board approved a $30,991 bid from Gray’s Paving to do patchwork paving, both at the school and the central office. It was one of three bids received.
Most of the paving would be at the high school’s exit/entrance off Route 15.
• The board authorized spending $29,362 on a new tractor in the school’s salt shed, for de-icing the parking lots during the winter. Laflam said the last three tractors had to have their front ends rebuilt, largely because of damage from salt.
The new tractor is made by LS, a Korean company. Laflam said test drives and reviews suggest it’s better built than the current Kioti.
• Eden School will lease a new school bus for three years, rather than buy one for $94,000. Finance director Deb Clark said that, by leasing, the district could receive transportation aid.
• The high school driver education program will get a Chevrolet Malibu from Lamoille Valley Chevrolet for $10,871, minus any taxes. Clark said the dealership has supplied the last several driver-ed cars.
A Malibu was chosen because the cars are modified to allow for teachers’ passenger-side controls.
The school board heard a smattering of quick-hit news from each of the school’s principals.
• Cambridge Elementary School principal Mary Anderson talked about a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a stormwater project that aims to prevent runoff from ultimately ending up in Lake Champlain. She advised that everyone stay on top of grant money if it becomes available, since such stormwater projects will soon be mandated by the state.
• Hyde Park Elementary principal Diane Reilly said the school is wrapping up the first year of its farm-to-school grant, and plans to apply for another. The school partners with Robtoy Farm in Cambridge — itself a partner with the district’s Green Mountain Technology and Career Center’s forestry and land management program.
• Eden Elementary students have spent time with two book authors. The first was John Churchman, a Vermont author and photographer who publishes the “Sweet Pea and Friends” picture book series, about the titular orphaned lamb. The other was Jarrett Krosoczka, the author and illustrator of the “Lunch Lady” series. The author and the kids communicated by Skype and he led the students through some drawing exercises.
• Lamoille Middle School principal Wendy Savery reported the school has made its placement decisions for next year’s incoming seventh-graders. She said middle school enrollment should hold steady at 250 to 260 students.
• The decades-old conversation about whether Lamoille Union ought to have its own running track came up again, with principal Brian Schaffer noting the current team has 60 athletes. Freshman Maggie McGee, one of the board’s student representatives, said track and field is accessible to anyone and doesn’t require specialized equipment.
Shaffer also teased an event May 31, the day before the prom, in which first responders will hold an exercise that simulates a two-car crash caused by drinking, drugged or distracted drivers. The first responders will show what it’s like to have to extract people from a wreck like that.
Comings and goings
• The high school hired a new music teacher for next year, Daniel Johnstone, after he was brought in to guest-teach some classes. He will be paid $43,510.
• Longtime Eden Elementary administrative assistant Susan Deuso was hired by the high school on a part-time basis, after she indicated she wanted to move to part-time.
• One of the school board members announced he was stepping down, even as another member from a different town was appointed.
The board accepted the resignation of Randy Katon, the Belvidere representative to the board.
Four people applied to fill a vacant Johnson seat on the school board. Lauren Philie was recommended by the Johnson Select Board, and the school board welcomed her aboard.