School capital improvement plan fully funded, except for Memorial Stadium

By Mary Macedo | Sep 11, 2017
Photo by: Mary Macedo

All of the items on the School Committee’s five-year improvement plan have received support, except for a proposed renovation of Memorial Stadium.

At the September 11 School Committee meeting, School Business Administrator James Kiely said the projects include a $200,000 upgrade to technology and $175,000 in playground upgrades. The original proposal for $1.4 million to renovate the stadium, however, was not supported.

Kiely said that only an additional $50,000 will be given towards the Memorial Stadium renovation. The money can then be used to come up with a structural plan on the renovations that would be needed.

Committee member Christopher Oliver said that he was happy with the $50,000 to help come up with a structural plan for the stadium. Oliver said right now he has been researching different kinds of turf used in other schools in Massachusetts. A structural plan will help see the full scope of the stadium renovations, not just the lights and the field.

Chairperson Shannon Jenkins agreed that she was happy with the money, but also frustrated. With Town Meeting in October the plans for the stadium will not be ready, therefore no money will be allocated for the renovations.

The plans would not be ready until the June Town Meeting, which would leave the renovations happening much later than the committee had hoped.

"We won't be able to renovate for Fall," Jenkins said "Best case is fall 2019."

The other major items on the Capital Improvement Plan will all go to the next town meeting to be officially funded. Other items on the agenda include replacing interior and exterior doors at several of the schools, as well as technology upgrades to replace computers, printers, scanners, cameras, servers, and electronic white boards.

There will also be major multi-year improvements being done to the playgrounds at the elementary schools such as paving, fencing, grading, seeding, and some may require installation of new drainage systems.

Kiely announced at the meeting that one of the improvement plan items that is already underway is the new boiler at Dartmouth High School. The boiler is helping the school convert from oil to natural gas, which in the coming year should save the school some money in regards to utilities.

Kiely said that the schools used all of its $4 million fiscal year 2017 budget, but some of the budget was moved around. The main focus in FY17 was technology upgrades and special education, so more money went to fund those programs in the past year.

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