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Additional $86,000 Needed For Prescott Repairs

by Connie Sartini


   Following last week’s report on the electrical panel issues that endangered the insurance coverage for Prescott School, the Select Board asked Department of Public Works Director Tom Delaney to return with an itemized budget for the additional issues affecting the historic school.

   As a result, the estimate for the identified school repairs is to request another $86,000 for work that needs to be done to the building. At last week’s meeting, Delaney said the bid for the new electrical panel came in at $9,500.  This week, he listed the other items that needed attention including repairs to the edges of the toilet area, a water heater, rails around the stairs, a burglar alarm and the replacement of the antiquated lights in the gymnasium. He estimated that this would cost another $55,000 to $60,000. 

   Delaney stressed that this number did not include any expenses to address the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. 

   Selectman Josh Degen pointed out that the building is becoming a “continuing liability to the Town of Groton. It’s becoming another Country Club, with a growing budget.”  He said he questioned whether  Prescott School should remain as a town-owned proerty, noting that there will be ongoing costs to the taxpayers.

   Select Board Chairman Barry Pease said he felt that Prescott School was “a capital planning challenge and if we keep funding it from the Capital budget, it will need a two-thirds vote.”

   The Friends of Prescott who operate a Community Center at the school have a three-year lease on the property, where they provide a variety of classes, oversee rental of office space, and rental of gymnasium space. Voters at Town Meeting already have contributed $62,000 to set aside for work needed at the school.

   The Friends have submitted a business plan for the Community Center, and the expectation has been that the group would be self-sufficient in the three-year time period.

   The Select Board tabled any action on adding an article to the Spring Town Meeting Warrant for the additional $86,000 until after the Friends present its business plan to the Select Board at their meeting Monday, March 25.


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