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Windham schools lay out 20-year capital improvement plan

WINDHAM — A detailed proposal addressing Windham’s school facilities’ shortcomings will be included in the town’s new Capital Improvement Plan.

The Windham School Board met Tuesday, where the entire proposal was presented publicly for the first time.

Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said the planning process has proven a lengthy one. Late last year, district officials hired professional assessing firm On-Sight Insight to begin addressing Windham’s current and future needs.

The resulting proposal spans the next 20 years and addresses the structural and functional needs of the district’s four schools, as well as the SAU office.

Feneberg said there are roughly $16 million worth of capital projects that should be scheduled over the span of the next two decades.

“On average, projects of between $750,000 and $800,000 will need to be performed each year to keep pace with the proposed plan,” he added.

District officials said paving and roof systems account for nearly half of the recommended projects. They noted that large projects would still need to be budgeted from year to year, with final decisions being left for the March voters to decide.

Feneberg said consolidating certain projects could reduce some of the construction costs, but the proposed plan still calls for an investment of $675,000 per year, increasing by 1.5 percent over the next 20 years to meet funding goals.

“By developing an implementation plan that evens out the capital outlay from year to year, the district needs to use the capital reserve fund for school buildings and grounds maintenance and repairs,” the superintendent said.

In February, the district received $419,000 in health care refunds from the Local Government Center, which was placed in a Capital Needs Account.

Surplus funds totalling $77,011 from the previous fiscal year were placed in the account July 1.

With repairs at several district facilities, including a $31,106 floor replacement in the Golden Brook School cafeteria, the Capital Needs Account had a balance of $464,577 earlier this month.

Further repairs at Golden Brook School, including $75,000 worth of replacement classroom air units, as well as a $278,000 partial roof replacement at Windham Center School, are planned for August.

School Board Chairman Jerome Rekart said the board is proposing a $395,000 appropriation to address the failing Windham Middle School roof in fiscal year 2016.

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