Nov. 25—ELLINGTON — Voters will decide in January whether the town should issue $6.7 million in bonds for updating the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems at three of its public schools.
The Board of Selectmen this week unanimously voted to hold a town meeting on financing the project on Jan. 10. At the meeting, voters will decide whether to send the plan to referendum, which would be held Jan. 19.
If approved by voters, the $6,736,250 appropriation would go toward costs not paid by grants for the installation, replacement, and upgrading of HVAC systems at Ellington High School, Ellington Middle School, and Center Elementary School.
According to the resolution selectmen approved, the project will improve the indoor air quality for students at the three schools and is eligible for state grants.
The project is expected to involve new boilers, dedicated outdoor systems and building management systems, and repair and replacement of specified roofing sections.
The resolution that selectmen approved also states that the $6.7 million could be spent on design, installation, site improvements, removal of materials and discarded equipment, permitting and environmental costs, wiring, pipes, sensors, thermostats, and related fees.
A permanent building committee would be established to determine the project’s scope and particulars, and its members could modify them as necessary.
Selectmen also voted to authorize the Board of Education to apply for state grants to help fund the project, and prepare schematic drawings and specifications for the project.
The deadline for a state grant that’s available to help districts upgrade school air quality is Dec. 1. The maximum reimbursement rate is 55% of the project cost.
The district hired Consulting Engineering Services to conduct a review of the three schools’ air quality systems.
Brian Greenleaf, director of finance and operations for the schools, told the Board of Education during an Oct. 26 meeting that the district aims to first install dedicated outdoor air and boiler systems.
At that meeting, board members unanimously voted to direct the administration to further develop educational specifications and budgets for the HVAC projects, and to continue examining if any operational costs associated with upgraded systems could be reduced during the annual budget process.
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