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Phase I of Kingswood project is out for bids

October 22, 2009
WOLFEBORO — Phase I of the Governor Wentworth Regional School District renovation and expansion project at the Kingswood complex is out to bid. All of the prequalified contractors have the lengthy document, explained Superintendent Jack Robertson Monday evening at a school board meeting held at Ossipee Central School. Bid submissions by the General Contractors are due Nov. 10.

Rather than go over the designs for the multi-purpose building, which has been done several times, Robertson went over the artificial turf field plans instead.

He explained that he and board Chair James Rines had signed a letter to the state requesting a building aid waiver for the turf field. In order to qualify for building aid the district would have to comply to several requirements, including that a certain number of teams be able to use the field and that the district continue to work with the community to share facilities, as well as other stipulations.

After researching and discussing the issue, the committee has agreed on using a monofilament with a "G" factor specifying an impact range between 0.9 and 1.25, which is considered soft turf. This turf has a life of approximately 10 to 12 years and will need replacing down the road. Over time, because of the use by multiple sports teams and UV rays, the turf will get harder with age.

In addition Robertson spoke of the plans for the new bleachers, which will seat 1,102 people and include wheelchair access. There will be a refreshment stand and secure storage area below the seating, as well as a 36-foot-by-eight-foot press box on top.

Ernie Brown added that in terms of the geothermal heating and cooling system, the committee hopes that several local drillers will form a cooperative in order to install the 300 plus wells necessary for the project. The committee would like to hire locally but as there is no local business that would have the capacity to handle a project of this size, a co-op would be the next best thing.

Rines said that the committee received a very favorable review from the state in response to the Site Specific Review Application, which resulted in a minimal request for more information. In his notes on the committee's recent Oct. 7 meeting, Brown reported that no delay is anticipated in getting the necessary permits for phase I.

When planning for phase I is completed the committee is eager to begin planning for phase II.

Rerporting on the status of building aid, Robertson said that the state is continuing to try to shift its obligations back to the local level, as was shown recently in a retirement case. He reviewed a letter he submitted to a joint subcommittee of the House and Senate discussing building aid. In the letter he emphasizes several issues, such as equality for students. Equal opportunity for kids is impacted greatly by the loss of building aid, as some places are more likely to be able to afford buildings and others aren't. With the withdrawal of building aid that equality of opportunity is likely to be lost, he explained.

Another issue is that of safety, something each community needs to deal with.

The third point in Robertson's letter was that if the infrastructure of schools is allowed to deteriorate, in the long run it will cost the state a significant amount of money to bail itself out.

For now conversations continue about what the state is going to do while dealing with its financial mess. The Superintendents Association, as well as the School Board Association are both active in addressing the issue of building aid. Historically, Robertson continued, when other states have run into a problem with building aid they've declared moratoriums for a time on new buildings.

Member John Widmer voiced his frustrations on behalf of the taxpayers. "We sold a bond in the good faith that the state would come through" with the money, he said. He asked that the taxpayers believe in what the board is trying to do. If building aid for existing projects is affected every school district in the state will feel its effects. "Voices will be quite loud if the state reneges on its past promises," Robertson stated.

Robertson noted a big chunk of the money is the bonding of the vocational center, which cannot be tapped by other sources.

The building committee met again yesterday (Wednesday, Oct. 21) at the SAU to review any contractual questions or issues brought up by bidders thus far and to begin plans for a groundbreaking ceremony.

On Friday, Dec. 4, the committee will be holding an informational meeting and tour for the district's principals and PTA/ PTO personnel at the Skylight Dining Room.

Matin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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