Westborough schools want to use HVAC funds for ADA costs

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Westborough schools want to use HVAC funds for ADA costs
Hastings Elementary School stands on Main Street in Westborough. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH – Hastings Elementary School needs an upgrade for its heating, ventilating and air conditioning system.

It also needs to meet compliance for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the roof is causing a bit of concern, too.

There’s money for the HVAC project – $3 million was appropriated at the 2019 Fall Town Meeting and another $1.8 million at this spring’s Town Meeting.

However, as Superintendent Amber Bock explained, work on the HVAC project cannot proceed before the ADA compliance work is completed.

We can’t use those funds to do the HVAC work because state regulation requires us to ADA code access upgrades to the building before doing any more projects,” said Bock. 

The School Department has submitted Article 30 to the fall Town Meeting warrant. The article asks to amend the debt authorizations and reallocations of surplus funds to include design costs for ADA compliance and the HVAC project, according to Bock.

According to Westborough Public Schools’ capital improvement plan for fiscal 2024 and 2025, the costs for the ADA design is estimated at $438,050 and the preliminary costs for the actual work estimated at $3,650,792.

The plan also has replacement of the school’s HVAC estimated at $5.2 million.

After an initial presentation on Sept. 27, the Select Board wanted more information, so Bock returned to the board’s Oct. 3 meeting. After extensive discussions with both the board and the Advisory and Finance Committee, Bock brought an updated draft of Article 30 to the Oct. 6 School Committee meeting.

Should the article be approved by a two-thirds vote, School Committee member Stephen Doret said officials “can create bid documents for the HVAC and ADA projects for annual Town Meeting” in spring 2023.

“We can at least get value for the money we are spending,” he said. “Both projects can go together … it’s the most logical approach.”

“I feel pretty good about where we are,” said Bock.

The School Committee voted to support the article.

Town Meeting will convene on Monday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. at Westborough High School.

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