Schools getting spruced up for new year

MILFORD – When school starts in September, Milford High School’s Spartans and their fans will have a refurbished gymnasium, part of $3 million worth of school improvements approved by voters in March.

The bond is paying for work at the high school and the middle school, as well as a partial roof replacement at Heron Pond Elementary School.

The high school gym will have a new floor and bleachers, a better sound system and a fresh paint job, improvements that will help the school maintain its accreditation.

Although the school generally scored well in the evaluation by the regional accreditation organization, the report from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges said the building, which dates from the 1960s, was failing in several areas.

Another high-priority item for Milford High, replacement of heating pipes, won’t happen until next summer, one of several school building improvements whose funding had to be postponed after a snowstorm in March delayed the validation of the elections.

“The board is looking to complete it over multiple years – a two- or three-year process,” Superintendent Robert Marquis said during a visit to the gym with School Board Chairman Ron Carvell last week.

Another big project that had to be delayed until summer 2018 is the replacement of the air handling units at Milford Middle School. But replacement of part of the school roof and installation of a new fire panel is happening this summer.

Bales School will see “cosmetic work,” said Marquis, including the painting of classrooms, with funds coming from a district surplus. And some of the high school’s old bleachers will be repaired and installed in the Bales gym.

The School Distict is also partnering with Granite Town Media to update equipment in the high school’s lecture hall to allow video production and other uses for students.

The schools need about $18 million worth of repairs in total, Carvell said. Without the gym improvements, he said, the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association could have have decided “we can’t have games anymore. We appreciate the support of the bond and the schools.”

An attempt to pass a $5 million bond for school renovations failed in 2016, but this year, the nine-member Advisory Budget Committee unanimously supported the pared down bond, saying the buildings are in dire need of repair.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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