Cape Elizabeth to borrow $1.75M for school repairs

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council approved borrowing $1.75 million to fund several School Department capital improvement projects. 

As part of its 10-year capital improvement plan, the School Board last November asked the council for bonding to fund the projects, which focus mostly on exterior maintenance and repair of school buildings.

The funding requests include three for roof repairs: $800,000 at the high school, $175,000 at the middle school, and $175,000 for roof work at Pond Cove Elementary School.

According to the School Department website, the existing roofs are almost 25 years old.

In addition, the high school’s electrical system would be upgraded at a cost of $275,000. Another project for repair of heating and ventilation equipment at the middle school requires $325,000.

The electrical system is 46 years old and the heating system is 21 years old.

Town Manager Mike McGovern explained why the projects are not being lumped into a single proposal that would need voter approval.

“Doing electrical work in a school has nothing to do with doing roof work,” he said. “Doing replacement of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning has nothing to do with roofs.”

If any of the projects come in under budget, he said, the board will be allowed to use the surplus for other improvements, as long as none of them exceeds $1 million in cost.

“I think somehow to say citizens should vote on this would actually be a violation of the charter,” McGovern said.

There were no questions about McGovern’s conclusion from either councilors or members of the public.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.