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Lincoln school facing tough decisions

LINCOLN — Weighing looming repairs and the costs associated with them, the Lincoln Community School board will sketch out three options for the ailing school building at a hearing Tuesday night.
“There are a three things you can do: You can fix the building, you can knock it down and build a new one, or you can close the school,” said school board chair David Venman. “The biggest reason for the meeting (this) week is to inform the town of the work we’ve been doing and allow them to ask questions and give input on where we go from here.”
The town meeting will take place on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the school.
Venman said the board and members of the building committee it appointed aren’t yet leaning toward any one of the three options, but that the town needs to decide soon where to direct its energy.
“It’s coming soon. We need to decide by the end of the summer,” Venman said. “We need to pick a plan and move forward, but this is part of that process.”
So far the only path that isn’t an option, Venman said, is the status quo.
“I don’t know that the school would make it another year or two without some attention,” he said. “The roof needs to be replaced, the (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system needs some major attention. Basically much of the school and its systems are at the end of their useful life … Just about anything you can think of, the school needs attention.”
Other areas of concern include what Venman called “terrible” windows, as well as heat loss problems associated with the windows, old lighting, and damaged siding.
The board has been weighing the facility’s problems since early last winter, but decided against going to the town for a bond to fund repairs at the annual town meeting in March in favor of more thoroughly investigating all the options.
Venman said the reason for investigating all three options — repairing the school, constructing a new building, or tuitioning students to other towns — is that the board wants to be prepared to field questions about the costs of each once they choose to move in one direction.
“We want to make sure that we thoroughly explored all of the other options as well so that we can honestly say this is what’s best,” he said.

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