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Public to get more information on $74 million Salem High School project

SALEM — Now that there is a figure that will go before voters in March for the high school renovation project, school officials are now working on providing more detailed information to the public on how the project will be financed.

Earlier this month, the School Board approved placing an article on the March town election warrant asking to appropriate $74,745,000 for the high school project.

Superintendent Michael Delahanty said he expects to have more information on the bonding and financing of the project at tonight's School Board planning session.

Delahanty said he and board member Peter Carney recently met with several local bank officials about financing options for the project.

"We were encouraged by their recommendations and what the interest rates ought to be for the next few years, so we should have some numbers shortly," said Delahanty.

Part of the high school renovation project includes the renovation of the school's Career and Technical Education (CTE) center.

Although the money for that portion of the renovation will be included in the appropriation request on the election ballot, the $10.8 million earmarked for that portion of the project will be paid by the state.

"We learned from the department of education that we don't have to include the $10.8 million from the state in our bonds," said Delahanty. "Therefore, we will save some interest and we will go directly through the department of education to pay the bills for the expenses of the CTE renovation. That will save the taxpayers here in Salem some funds."

Having the state pay for the CTE portion of the project will require some additional bookkeeping on the district's part.

Delahanty said there will also be a series of public meetings announced around the turn of the new year to address the scope and cost of the project. Those meetings will include the district's building and design partners as well as school officials.

"We want to make sure all questions are answered so that people will be assured that this can be an excellent project for the community and a wonderful opportunity for our kids," said Delahanty.

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