By Ledger Staff Reporter
LUNENBURG – The Lunenburg Capital Planning Committee met Monday November 20 to discuss the needs of the Lunenburg Public School District for Fiscal Year 25 (FY25) capital needs.
In total the schools are seeking to fund $899,500 worth of capital
projects this budgetary season, which range from facilities improvements, several engineering studies, and the purchase of a vehicle.
At the Lunenburg Middle High School the most pressing need is to get the ball rolling on improvements to the field turf complex, both the field itself, and problems related to stormwater damage which is
eroding portions of the stands, walkways, as well as doing damage to the track and field turf.
The site survey for drainage improvement study will have $200,000
allocated towards it, and it will mark the second phase of the project, as the first phase is beginning and being funded with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The second phase will allow for more detailed engineering and schematic detail.
Capital planning school committee representative Peter Beardmore said before the Town can get to drawings it needs a better understanding of the drainage problem. When finance committee representative Chris Menard asked about schools tearing up turf fields to be replaced with grass, and inquired why Lunenburg wasn't, Beardmore responded that the district is spending $40,000 per year in maintenance of its fields, and the grass fields are torn due to overuse. Beardmore later added it’s “in our best interest to have a mix (of surfaces).”
Turkey Hill is seeking $250,000 for funds to perform a study for renovation, which includes an extensive assessment that will give a more accurate and informed picture on the cost of renovation. The school committee changed the scope of the project, which initially only sought to do a study of American With Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements that could be triggered with large system updates, but after consulting the building design committee, Beardmore said that the schools want a more in-depth picture to inform the three phases of building reuse in town.
The school could become home to a commercial kitchen, community space, and town office space down the line, and Beardmore said for those decisions to occur, a more accurate reflection of the true costs
associated with the building is needed. Lunenburg Public Schools
Superintendent Dr. Kate Burnham said that the project is third ranked on this year’s priority list, and it will inform the out years of the
10-year capital plan.
The schools are seeking $30,000 for design work for the playground at Lunenburg Primary School. Burnham said that all equipment at the site is rated for that age group, however it is large and tall for those
students. The goal of the design is to be age appropriate, safe for all children in the community, and provide more options with accessibility for students with disabilities and mobility issues. Currently there are very few options for students with mobility issues at the playground, Burnham said.
The primary school is also seeking $30,000 for engineering for a
driveway expansion that would include adding additional parking to the school. Retired Lunenburg Police Chief James Marino notified the schools upon visiting on a day which parents attended, that getting an emergency vehicle up the driveway would’ve been impossible with cars parked on both sides of the road. Burnham said the parking lot on site can only accommodate staff, and that for any events, parents, and visitors park in the driveway. The goal was to introduce both the
playground work and driveway design simultaneously, as they are
The primary school is also seeking $160,000 for Phase II of the AC unit project, where Phase I was recently approved at special town meeting in early November. The second phase would provide AC to the remaining classrooms not covered in the first phase.
District-wide issues include the installation of safety film on windows. Turkey Hill’s safety film is the top priority in the plan, at a cost of $33,569. The primary school is the fourth priority at $38,120, and the middle high school is the fifth priority at $42,618.
Select board representative Tom Alonzo asked if it’s a safety issue, why break them up and prioritize differently. Burnham responded that some buildings are more in need than others, particularly with the amount of ground to floor windows and single pane windows.
The final schools’ capital request is $74,500 for a dump truck with a plow for the district, which would be a replacement for an existing
1-ton dump truck. The current vehicle is from 2006 and has 115,300 miles on it. A salting unit was purchased, Burnham said, so that item is no longer included in the ask for this item, an item which came before the committee last year as well.