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Hearing on Salem high school renovation scheduled

SALEM — The School Board will ring in the new year with a public hearing on the proposed Salem High School renovation and rebuilding project.

The board is holding a public hearing on the project at the high school's media center on Thursday, Jan. 16, to "consider the incurring of indebtedness for the purpose of construction and original equipping of renovations and improvements to Salem High School and the Salem High School Career and Technical Education center in the amount of $74,745,00," according to Bernard Campbell, board chairman.

The public hearing will include input from some of the key players in the proposal, including the architect and the construction manager, according to Superintendent Michael Delahanty.

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

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

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."

Delahanty had said he expected to have more information on how much the district will bond for the entire project at a Dec. 17 School Board planning session, but that meeting was canceled due to snow.

The superintendent said the public hearing and other potential meetings before the March vote are intended to answer all questions the public has about the project.

"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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