Students lead community tours of renovated Lyme-Old Lyme High

Old Lyme - Community members on Monday toured the renovated Lyme-Old Lyme High School, which features expanded classrooms, a new commons area and sound-proof music rooms.

The student-led tour took residents and incoming students through the 123,000-square-foot facility with spaces ranging from an electronic music room to a renovated library.

The students leading the tour showed the remodeled auditorium and rooms for arts, such as pottery, media art and sculpture, and laboratories with areas for both experiments and classroom instruction.

The entrance of the renovated high school opens into a commons area for dining and meetings. The area replaces an open space between two buildings.

The renovation is largely complete and Principal Jim Wygonik said staff and students have all moved back inside the building. Some classes had been held in portable classrooms.

"All renovated spaces are in operation," said John Rhodes, director of facilities and technology, in an interview.

Residents approved the $47.8 million project in 2008.

Following the community tour, the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education approved sending the proposed 2013-14 regional school district's budget of $31,741,789 and its 2.36 percent increase to a referendum vote.

Debt services, new contracts with employees and additional energy costs contribute to increases, but there are decreases in the operations budget from factors such as decreasing enrollment and savings in employee benefits.

Old Lyme, which comprises 79.2 percent of student enrollment, is expected to pay a net cost of $24,395,961. Lyme, with 20.8 percent of the students, has a net cost of $6,401,529.

The May 7 referendum will follow a budget meeting on May 6. The budget is available at www.region18.org.

k.drelich@theday.com

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