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    Friday, December 01, 2023

    Lyme and Old Lyme residents approve $57 million schools’ project

    Old Lyme — Voters on Tuesday approved $57.5 million in bonding for renovations and updates to four schools in the Lyme-Old Lyme School District with 3001 votes in favor and 2200 opposed.

    Superintendent of Schools Ian Neviaser said, “We greatly appreciate the ongoing support of our communities in an effort to maintain high quality schools. We will now begin the process of putting together a building committee and bid for architectural firms to move forward on this project.”

    The referendum asked residents to approve or reject a request for $57,550,000 in bonds, with a state reimbursement of $9,775,000, to renovate and update four schools in the consolidated school district, at a net cost of $47,775,000.

    According to the Region 18 website, current enrollment in the consolidated school district is 1300 students, and projections show that by 2031, the number will increase almost 30% to 1673, requiring more space to accommodate the growing population of students.

    The referendum proposed updating heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems at Mile Creek School, Lyme School, Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and Center School, all renovated between 18 and 20 years ago.

    Additionally, the funds will pay for fire suppression enhancements at Lyme School and Mile Creek School, for security enhancements at three of the four schools, and nine new classrooms at Mile Creek School, which was last renovated in 2002.

    Estimates prepared by the Old Lyme Finance Department and the Lyme Board of Finance, showed a potential tax increase for property owners over the next 25 years, if the referendum had passed, of $112.43 per year increase in Old Lyme for every $70,000 of assessed value and $87.71 per year per $70,000 in assessed in Lyme.

    Ian Neviaser, superintendent of schools for the consolidated school district, said in October the $57.5 million figure was a “not to exceed” figure, and final costs could be less, but would not be more than that amount.

    Construction on the project would begin in the fall of 2023, with Center School and Lyme School completed in mid-2024, Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School completed in mid-2025, and Mile Creek School tentatively completed in August 2025.

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