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Unity voters being asked to OK more money for school

Union Leader Correspondent

February 23. 2014 7:21PM

UNITY — The Unity School Board is holding a bond hearing Tuesday night to discuss the request $2.75 million to finish the stalled Unity Elementary School building project.

The bond hearing will be held in Unity Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.

Voters approved a $4.7 million bond to build the new school for Unity children in kindergarten through grade 8 at an August 2010 special meeting after state officials ordered Unity Elementary School closed due to numerous unresolved fire and building code violations.

Architect Scott Vaughn, who helmed the building project, said the new school would be complete and ready for students for the start of the 2012 school year. But when it wasn’t complete the state fire marshal’s office and Department of Education granted a one-year waiver for the building and fire code violations of the old elementary school so it could be used for another year.

Then in March voters approved an additional $550,000 bond to fund what Vaughn said was unanticipated site work.

In July the state fire marshal’s office placed a stop work order on construction.

Because the old school building was demolished last summer, the Claremont School District, which is also part of SAU No. 6, invited the Unity students and staff to use space in Disnard Elementary School and Claremont Middle School.

With the stop work order still in place last month, the Unity School Board replaced Vaughn with construction company Trumbull-Nelson.

After evaluating the project, Trumbull-Nelson said the additional funds are required to finish the building project and open the new school to Unity children next fall, said Middletown McGoodwin, Superintendent of SAU No. 6 in Claremont.

“We want the children to be in their school by the next school year,” he said Friday.

McGoodwin said he plans to present the bond article at the hearing on Tuesday as well as the district’s option if the bond article is not approved by voters at the district’s annual meeting planned for March 22.

If the bond is not approved, the district could not continue without a school building and would have to send students to another district and pay tuition.

“The Unity children will need to be educated and will be educated either in their new school or in another school,” McGoodwin said.

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