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Both Fort River and Wildwood Elementary schools have significant structural and functional issues. This project allows the Town to address the facility needs of both schools with a single new elementary school that improves the learning environment. The MSBA only accepts a certain number of schools into its grant program each year. If a debt exclusion is not approved for this project, it will be years before the Town is again accepted to participate in the program. As we have seen since the last attempt to replace these schools, delays also mean higher costs.
The Town has not addressed replacement of aging municipal facilities over the past 30 years and, as a result, has a backlog of facilities in poor condition requiring temporary improvements. As a result, any delays in this project will compound the facilities challenges facing the Town.
Yes, the School Department has projected over $1 million of operational savings as a result of moving from three elementary schools to two. These savings derive from lower utility and maintenance costs, more efficient use of staffing, and lower administrative costs.