Lincoln board decides against floating school bond

LINCOLN — The Lincoln school board last week decided to postpone a bond to fund school repairs, pushing back a possible vote on the bond until at least March 2011.
The Dec. 21 decision came after several weeks of hasty discussions regarding possible repairs to the Lincoln Community School’s aging building, which the board discussed for several hours with community members at a well-attended Dec. 16 public meeting.
Board Chair David Venman said last month that the school building — which is comprised of three sections, the oldest of which was built in the early 1950s — faces some significant physical problems, including issues with the roof, energy efficiency, heating system, leaky windows and poor siding.
Some of these structural problems first came to light in 2007, after Burlington architectural firm TruexCullins completed an analysis of the school’s building. That analysis suggested that the school could invest as much as $4 million in a two-pronged project to add additional space to the schoolhouse, as well as repair the existing building.
But in mid-2007, explained Addison Northeast Supervisory Union Business Manager Greg Burdick, the state shut down a program that had provided schools with 30 percent rebate for school building projects. The freeze on state reimbursement for school construction stopped any Lincoln construction projects in their tracks.
In addition to needing to make some repairs, Burdick said the school “definitely could use some kind of additional space.”
But a determination of the cost of any future repairs, as well as the extent of a construction project, are on hold until the board gathers more information about the state of the school’s physical systems. Venman said the board decided on Dec. 21 to take its time approaching the repairs rather than rushing into a project that may need more contemplation.
“We didn’t feel there was enough time to take in all the information and decide what exactly we need to do,” Venman said. “It’s clear that we need the bond, but it’s not clear how much.”
Venman also said that, by postponing a bond vote, the board hopes to “get the most bang for (its) buck” by putting together a suite of repairs that addresses as many of the building’s needs as possible.

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