By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — Region 16 school district residents voted 257-192 to approve borrowing up to $2.3 million for a capital improvement project for Woodland Regional High School athletics.
Beacon Falls voted against the project 149-137, but Prospect carried the day with a 120-43 tally in a referendum at Laurel Ledge Elementary School in Beacon Falls and Prospect firehouse Monday, June 13.
“We’re looking to do this over the next two years, but we’re very excited about the project,” Region 16 Superintendent Michael Yamin said. “I would assume people who voted against it probably don’t have a direct vested interest anymore, which is not having children in the school district. The quality of your education system maintains the property value of your home.”
Yamin said there is no increase to the debt service budget due to the capital improvement project.
“We think it’s something that’s critical for the maintenance of the facility,” Yamin said.
Improvements will include replacement of the track, football field and gymnasium, as well as renovation of the weight room.
The football field has poor drainage, while the gym floor has begun to separate, Yamin noted.
School officials have spent about $50,000 on the track for repairs in the last seven years.
The football field has water issues and needs to be fixed to protect student athletes, he said.
“If we don’t do it now, the repairs become twice as expensive down the road.”
School officials already have gone out to bid for the project, but that process may have to be restarted in an inflation economy with prices 30% to 40% higher than they anticipated, he said.
“We may hold for a year,” Yamin said, “and go back out to bid.”