Addison Central schools need work; report puts price tag at $31 million over next five years

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District’s 12 buildings spread throughout seven Middlebury-area communities could require a combined total of as much as $31 million in upgrades and repairs within the next five years, according to a new report commissioned by ACSD officials.
District administrators said the new report — authored by a company called Alpha Facilities Solutions LLC — was compiled by a team of engineers, architects and construction professionals who collected data and conducted walk-throughs of the ACSD buildings, which possess a combined total of 390,000 square feet. It would cost around $117 million in today’s dollars to replace all of those district buildings (excluding furnishings and technology), according to the report.
The ACSD green-lighted the study several months ago in order to get a better handle on future needs of district assets, which include elementary schools in Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge; Middlebury Union middle and high schools; and the alternative education and ACSD central office buildings in Middlebury.
Plans call for the Alpha report to become a key part of a long-range facilities plan that will help the ACSD better plan for future improvements to its buildings. The school district last year unified its school governance, a process that also led to taxpayers in all seven towns becoming responsible for all of the district-owned buildings. In other words, if for example Bridport Central School were to need major renovations, the taxpayers of all seven towns would be responsible for those upgrades — not just Bridport residents.
“The ACSD facilities assessment will be a critical resource in developing long-range maintenance plans for our schools and buildings,” Superintendent Peter Burrows said of the report. “We will be working to determine, in subsequent budget development cycles, where our greatest needs are to be sure all schools receive the support they need.”
ACSD officials got their first glimpse of the Alpha report on Sept. 18.
The visiting team’s scope of work included identifying and documenting:
•  Current and forecasted conditions of the approximately 390,000 square feet of ACSD facilities.
•  Current site infrastructure needs.
•  Remaining service life of major building systems — such as envelope, architectural finishes, roofs, electrical, plumbing, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
•  Rough cost estimates for building improvements and repairs.
•  Potential new school-related capital needs in each of the seven towns during the next 20 years for each facility.
According to the study, the ACSD facilities could currently use a combined $19.98 million in upgrades and repairs, a number that could climb to $31 million by the year 2022.
Authors of the report have identified a combined total of $758,000 in “critical” systems upgrades that need to be addressed within six local elementary schools, centering on fire alarm infrastructure, as well as HVAC facilities. For example, Mary Hogan Elementary needs $315,000 in fire alarm-related improvements, and Shoreham Elementary needs $114,000 in fire alarm and HVAC work, according to the report.
Other “high priority” capital improvements identified in the report include an estimated $613,000 in roof repairs and $1,253,579 in electrical system upgrades.
See graphic for a building-by-building breakdown of the cost of recommended repairs.
District officials stressed the report should serve as a planning guide. Some of the report’s estimates are based on conventional attrition rates for school structures and equipment, which don’t reflect the true condition of assets that have received particular TLC through the years.
“As we tried to stress during the presentation, this information was based on visual inspections and the industry standard ‘expected useful life’ of building systems,” said ACSD Business Manager Joshua Quinn. “Well-maintained equipment can often outlive its useful life expectancy. The facilities department now must review the information and create ACSD’s prioritized list based on our detailed knowledge of our systems, their maintenance history, and overall conditions. I expect this to take most of this school year.”
Asked for his general reactions to the report, Quinn said: “Having walked through our schools multiple times over the past 14 months, I knew that there was deferred maintenance and outdated systems in all our buildings. It’s not unusual to have outdated systems and maintenance needs in buildings as old as ours in any industry. Now that we have the data, we can analyze the information, determine the greatest needs/priorities, and create a facilities capital plan for submission to the board.”

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