Groton board prioritizes school upgrades

Groton - Superintendent Michael Graner will ask the Town Council and Representative Town Meeting for $2.13 million in capital improvement money for the coming fiscal year, including $200,000 to improve school security.

The Board of Education approved the capital improvement request on Monday. Graner said he would forward the document to Town Manager Mark Oefinger by Friday.

"What I'm pleased about regarding the CIP is that the board actually took a vote on it and included in it a prioritized list, so it would give the Town Council an idea of those issues that the board considers more pressing and what could possibly be delayed."

School Facilities Director Bill Robarge said it'll be a "courageous conversation," and ranked projects by importance.

The top three items are: $200,000 to add "sally ports," or additional entrance areas and a second layer of doors at the main entrances of six elementary schools; $445,000 to remove non-friable (or non-airborne) asbestos from Charles Barnum Elementary School; and $65,000 to replace lights in the gymnasiums and parking lot of Robert E. Fitch High School with energy-efficient bulbs.

Robarge said the lighting project would pay for itself in two years and then save the district $22,000 a year.

Projects ranked as second in terms of importance are: $300,000 to plan improvements to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at Charles Barnum and West Side Middle School; and $370,000 to plan improvements to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and the electrical system at Carl C. Cutler Middle School.

The following remaining projects were ranked as third in importance: $109,000 to plan roof repairs at S.B. Butler Elementary School; $356,000 for additional security cameras at Fitch High School; the proposal also includes $20,000 to study the possibility of installing an artificial turf field; $211,000 to add outdoor security cameras at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School and Northeast Academy; and $80,000 to plan improvements to the parking and driver access area to Mary Morrisson Elementary School.

d.straszheim@theday.com

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