DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

June 6, 2013

Londonderry schools earmarked for repairs

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — Once classes end, summer school work continues.

After voters said no to spending $4.5 million on major school upgrades and construction at the polls in March, some smaller jobs are still on the list to be completed this summer.

A $300,000 maintenance fund article was approved to help support the smaller scale renovations that won’t cost as much, but will give the district’s facilities the care they need.

School district Business Administrator Peter Curro said projects needing the most attention are roof repairs at the middle school and high school, paving, and gymnasium upgrades.

Some larger jobs are now on hold, Curro said, due to lack of funding.

“Some are pushed back for several years,” he said.

Construction costs don’t get any cheaper, Curro said. A major Matthew Thornton paving project has already been put on hold for four years and costs to get it done keep rising.

It’s the district’s roofs that really are cause for concern. Officials keep tight watch over the facilities and buildings, and always put roofing work at a high level of priority.

“We watch all our roofs,” Curro said. “We walk all our roofs, evaluate with contractors, get estimates.”

Even the newer schools are under guard when it comes to roof safety. Most roofs come with warranties that protects the work for possibly up to 10 years or more. Unforeseen circumstances can always kick in, Curro said, when emergency repairs might be needed.

The district’s schools are also earmarked for added security work this summer, thanks to voters saying yes to spending $170,000 to keep students safer.

The plan will upgrade school security by adding a district-wide card access system, training and door monitoring/sensor systems.

Curro said the district is already working with vendors to get the projects underway, including installing the key pads and door security sensor systems. Ninety percent of that work will be complete when doors open for the new school year in August.

The district will also have a new school resource officer in place.

“That officer will spend most of his time at the middle school, but will float to the other schools,” Curro said.

He said it’s been a tough year budget wise for Londonderry, finding ways to pay for much-needed projects and services and still trying to be mindful of the taxpayers’ wallets. It’s also important to keep the public informed of what’s being worked on, and where.

Budget Committee member Tom Dalton said it’s a priority to keep the information available.

“It would bode well for the public at large to know these things,” he said, “and to be aware of what’s been accomplished.”