, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 24, 2013

Board: Contingency funds should fill budget shortfall

NEWBURYPORT — Securing the funds to cover the cost of necessary technology equipment for both the new K-3 Bresnahan School and the renovated Nock-Molin School was among the issues discussed by the School Building Committee at a meeting last week.

The budgets for both construction projects, which are set for completion in the fall, reportedly come up short by $700,000 in money set aside to meet the price of a prioritized technology buy/wish list.

Committee member Ralph Orlando expressed concern about not presently having any money to purchase student devices, adding that he’s especially worried about the technology budget at the Bresnahan School.

Other committee members said enough contingency funds within the construction budgets should be available to bridge the gap and meet the technology needs of the schools.

“I’m not concerned that we don’t have the money in the budget to cover the costs once the infrastructure (portion of the construction) is completed,” Mayor Donna Holaday said.

Project Manager Tony Pruner said that bid specifications and packages for competitive pricing are being prepared, with a timeframe of February or March for those bids to go out. The technology equipment would need to be ordered by April or May, but decisions will be made based on existing budgets and priorities, he said.

“We’re diligently identifying pockets and contingencies of money within the budgets to cover the costs,” Pruner added.

Also discussed was the proposed design of entrance signs for the new Bresnahan School.

The design showed three signs secured between two granite stanchions, which will rise approximately eight feet above the ground. The top sign, made of steel, is the largest and it will be either blue or crimson colored and will identify the Francis T. Bresnahan School. The middle sign will identify the adjacent new Senior Center, and the bottom sign will be used for announcements and messages.

A model of a clipper ship will either be connected to, or made as part of the top sign. The signs will be placed at the school entrances on High Street and North Atkinson streets, according to city officials.

When the potential cost of the signs was brought up, one comparison was made to the city entrance sign near the roundabout, which cost approximately $6,000, according to one committee member.

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