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East Windsor Voters OK Purchase of New Modular Classrooms for Broad Brook Elementary School

School officials must now wait approval for state reimbursement program before project can start.

 

Voters on Wednesday approved, by a nearly 3-1 margin, spending $3.77 million for modular classrooms at Broad Brook Elementary School.

The final tally was 362 voted “yes” and 123 voted “no,” Dan Nadeau, Democratic registrar of voters, said.

Christopher Mickey, chairman of the board of education, said he was excited and happy the proposal was approved.

“I’d like to move the process forward,”Mickey said.

Officials proposed replacing the current portable classrooms with 14 new permanent modular classrooms. Ten of the classrooms will be in front and the four addition classrooms will be in the north courtyard area for the preschool, officials said.

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Deputy First Selectman Alan Baker said he was really happy about the outcome of the referendum.

“I was optimistic this would pass,” Baker said. “I think people realized it was a good deal.”

The modular classrooms have a useful life of 40-50 years, as opposed to the 20 years of the current portables, which the school system has had for 10 years. The portables were 10 years old when East Windsor schools acquired them.

Currently, the school system pays $7,738 per month for the eight portable classrooms at the school and at the end of the lease $287,000 for their removal.

School officials said all of the construction costs can be absorbed within the current budget. The proposal will not cost taxpayers any more money because the additional $1,100 a month will be absorbed in the school system’s budget and should be offset by energy savings, Richard Labrie, of Futures Education, a consultant on the project, said recently.

School officials must now wait to see if the state will approve reimbursement for the project. Board Member Catherine Simonelli said officials expect to hear back from the state sometime in December.

“We can’t actually spend a dollar until we get state approval,” Simonelli said.

The permanent modular classrooms qualify for the state’s School Building Assistance reimbursement program, officials said. With a bond interest rate of 2.79 percent over 20 years, a reimbursement rate of 56.79 percent, the system would pay $8,864.20 a month.

Town and school officials said the referendum had to be done in June because application to the state program must be made by June 30. There is no guarantee the progran will be available next year, officials said.


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