Ledyard prepares to act on $51 million in building projects

Ledyard - The Town Council is set to take the first steps Wednesday night toward spending $51 million on two major building projects, an amount that Mayor John Rodolico has called a historic appropriation.

The larger of the two projects is the $45 million renovation of Ledyard Middle School, of which the town's share would be $17 million after state reimbursement. The council will vote Wednesday to authorize the Board of Education to file a state grant application to help pay for the renovations.

The project will upgrade the aging school, address security flaws and add a wing to accommodate the district's sixth-graders. Council members will also authorize the preparation of schematic drawings and outline specifications for the renovation project.

Superintendent Mike Graner has said that the cost to the average homeowner in property taxes would be $100 a year. This increase could take effect in 2016, depending on when construction begins, and the middle school could be completed by 2017.

Council members will authorize its attorney to draw up the documents needed to bond both the middle school renovation and a new $6.4 million police station that would be built next to Town Hall.

Parts of the old, cramped, one-story police station on Lorenz Parkway have been standing for more than a century. The architect who has sketched plans for the new station has called it a "woefully inadequate" space. The new building would be a two-story, 12,130 square-foot space.

Town and school officials are proposing budgets for 2013-14 with small increases because of the money that will be spent on the building projects.

The Board of Education approved a budget of $29.7 million in February with a less than 1 percent increase, and Rodolico said he purposefully excluded certain expenses in his $20.7 million general government budget, which represents a 5.3 percent increase and includes a tax increase of half a mill.

Town meetings will be held to discuss the projects ahead of the May referendum on the town and school budgets.



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