The renovation of the GMUSD facilities is progressing

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The GMUSD Board of Directors approved an approximately $21 million renovation plan for GMUHS, CAES and CTES on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Photo provided

CHESTER, Vermont – At their May 26 special meeting, the Green Mountain Unified School District Board agreed to move forward with the approximately $21 million renovation plan for GMUSD schools in an effort to feature a show bonds to district voters in the November 2022 election. They also agreed to build a softball field on the GMUHS campus and approved the renovation of a playground at Cavendish Town Elementary School as part of of the overall project.

Michael Davey of Energy Efficient Investments (EEI) gave a brief overview of the latest upgrades and facility renovation proposal being considered for the three schools in the district: GMUHS, Chester Andover Elementary School and CTES. He informed the board that since the plan was last presented at the end of December 2021 and the country has been hit by significant inflationary costs since then, there could be an impact on the bottom line of the proposal, with a possible increase of 8%.

Underscoring the urgency of the many renovations needed, Davey said that, particularly in high school, many systems, including the ventilation system, oil-fired boilers, pneumatic control system and electrical system, were “beyond the end of their useful life. He also pointed to a recent infrastructure audit conducted by the Vermont Agency of Education which ranked GMUHS as the seventh worst in the state for infrastructure.

Early in the discussion, board chairman Joe Fromberger said he was approached by two board members, Deb Brown and Dennis Reilly, who urged the board to re-include an on-campus softball field in the budget, citing concerns for girls’ safety and equality issues. The GM girls currently use MacKenzie Field, which is owned by a non-profit organization, the Green Mountain Softball League, and requires the girls to cross the busy 103 road to get to their games. The cost of the softball field on the GMUHS campus would total approximately $200,000.

Board member Steve Perani described the challenges of CTES’ ‘malfunctioning’ and ‘dangerous playground’, including a splintering wooden structure and a slide that was recently removed by a warrant. an insurance company. There are also drainage issues which cause icing in the winter months and render the playground unusable. Although he urged the board to approve $75,000 for the playground, CAES/CTES Director Katherine Fogg noted that the costs for the CAES playground were nearly $300,000, a much higher price. Fromberger asked Davey to review the extent of the playground, so he could price the structure and drainage solution realistically.

The $21 million project included approximately $17 million in upgrades from GMUHS, $2.3 million from CAES, and $760,000 from CTES, though those numbers will likely increase with the addition of land and terrain. gambling, as well as inflation costs. These details can be found on the TRSU website under “Important Messages” in a document titled “GMUSD Energy Audit and Possible Retrofits”.

Now that the Board has given EEI approval to move forward with the renovations and additions and has set a target date for when they will submit the bond issue to voters, EEI will plan a “ investment grade audit” eight weeks before the vote. who will finalize the budget costs and provide a detailed scope of work. The board of directors can then make the final adjustments, before submitting the final draft to voters to approve the bond issue in November.

Board member Rick Alexander remained the only “no” on the facilities renovation proposal, saying he had a real problem with a $21 million project, and challenged EEI to give them value for money by providing a projected return on investment for each project.

The next regular GMUSD Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 16 at 6 p.m. at the GMUHS Library and via Zoom.

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