Shall the Hampton School District vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $24,945,000 for reconstructing and equipping the Hampton Academy middle school; and authorize the issuance of not more than $24,945,000 of bonds or notes in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Act (RSA Chapter 33); and authorize the School Board to issue and negotiate such bonds or notes and to determine the rate of interest thereon; and further to raise and appropriate the additional sum of $460,550 for the payment of the first year’s interest on the bonds or notes authorized by this article, and authorize the School Board to apply for, accept and expend any grants for this purpose and take any other action necessary to carry out this vote? The School Board and the Budget Committee recommend this appropriation. (Three-fifths vote required.)
What it means: What is being proposed is a comprehensive renovation of Hampton Academy for a total cost of $24,945,000. The project would address infrastructure needs such as new roofs, windows and air quality issues; space to accommodate current technology and learning methods and would also incorporate a Community Room. The cost would be financed through bond debt.
Those in favor say: Information has been put forward by SAU 90, and is the basis for this section. A link to the Hampton Academy Renovation Project page can be found at the bottom of this section.
Images of the school and the need can be seen by clicking here:
Following are some of the highlights of the project as found in the SAU 90 materials:
- The building was originally built in 1939, with additions in 1961 and 1974.
- The building houses Grades 6-8.
- The project will add 51,000 square feet and will renovate 63,300 square feet.
- Specifics of the project, which will respect the character of the site:
- Re-design to better protect flow of students and visitors for safety reasons
- New roofs, windows, and technology infrastructure
- Improved parking with safer traffic flow
- Upgraded mechanical, electrical, air quality, data and building safety systems
- Community auditorium with fixed seating for 550
- Community Room and public meeting space with video recording for Channel 13
- Why now? The needs of Hampton Academy have been researched for years and there is a carefully vetted design for the work. Program and safety concerns continue to change with the changing society. The building and the additions are old, and many expensive infrastructure repairs will need to be undertaken with or without the re-design. Retiring bond payments can help fund this project, and interest rates are not likely to get lower than they are now.
- If the project is NOT undertaken as currently proposed, the Town will still need to address major infrastructure issues including: roof replacement, electrical upgrades, fire suppression, air quality, a complete restroom renovation, and ADA code compliance. Putting the project off is likely to incur rising construction costs and rising bond rates, making future repairs more expensive for taxpayers.
- The dollars requested are stated as being the “Guaranteed Maximum Price.”
Those against say: Those who have expressed issues with the proposal focus on:
- The overall cost of the project and the impact on the tax bill
- Other Town needs such as water drainage issues that will also need to be addressed
- The scope of the renovation and whether there might be a less expensive option
Fiscal Impact: The average Hampton home valued at $329,000 would bear an increased tax cost of $55.93 in 2016 if this Article passes. There will be future year impacts as well, with the 2017 cost estimated at $106.26 for the average-valued home.