At a budget meeting last month, West Newbury Selectman Bert Knowles Jr. said he’d like the $700,000 targeted toward a planned roofing and boiler replacement project at the middle school instead. That way the district would need to make a case to taxpayers specifically for additional funding for the new direction the athletic upgrade has taken. That was a debate voters should have, insisted Knowles, adding that any matching funds received from the state for the middle school project still could be applied to the athletic complex project to bring down costs.
In another warrant article, Pentucket is asking Town Meeting voters for $ 1.7 million to replace the roof and boiler at the middle school. The project, slated for a 50.79 percent reimbursement grant from the state’s School Building Authority, must be approved in all three towns.
The School Committee chose to use the $700,000 in this way, Labrecque said. To do otherwise “would have just adjusted the borrowing for the fields project up by that amount.”
Mulqueen sees the upgrades as improving Pentucket’s value for the community and is eyeing a possible high school renovation project and “large-scale” improvements to the football field and grandstands as a next phase.
“Every step we take brings our schools closer to a world-class future,” he said in a press release last week.