Voters reject capital vote project
The project included removing and replacing asbestos ceiling tiles, replacing 30-year-old boilers, and updating technology, upgrades which the district's administration said were needed to create a safer and better environment.
The final tally after Tuesday's vote on a single ballot question was 418 in favor and 456 against.
It was one of the largest votes the district has had in years, Greg Laurin, board of education president, said in a statement.
Superintendent Ken Facin thanked the hundreds of people who voted.
"We'll look at the overall project and reformulate how we will resolve the building and infrastructure issues that we must address to avoid any safety issues or emergency repairs," Facin said.
About 1,200 students attend the school campus on Route 22 that was built in 1961.
The proposal came after a five-year building condition survey of the campus and grounds from the state Department of Education.
The bulk of the proposal was $7.76 million in energy and HVAC improvements, including new boilers and associated equipment, and building-wide ventilation upgrades.
The $5.25 in safety improvements would have included replacing the campus' fire alarm system, installing new lighting and controls, and replacing existing generators at the main building with new generators.
The project would have been paid for using the district's reserve funds, state building aid About 80 percent of the construction cost would have been covered by state building aid.
It's the second capital project voters have rejected in three years. A $17 million proposal in 2014 was defeated 245 to 216, according to Banner archives.
The district's previous project approved by voters in 2006 included accessibility and security upgrades and outside work to storm drainage systems, athletic fields and sidewalks.
"Although we are disappointed the project did not pass, we're aware of people's concerns," Laurin said. "We will reassess the project and look for ways to complete the changes that must be done for the safety and well-being of the students and staff."
Reach staff writer Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.
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