Five years after merging into the Harwood Unified Union School District, voters in the district’s six communities may be asked to consider a major school construction bond in a special election in November.
The Harwood Union School Board was to meet Wednesday after press time for the Waterbury Reader. September 15 was the deadline the board had to decide a ballot question for a construction bond in order to meet election requirements to have a vote on Nov. 2.
The board has a detailed proposal outlining major renovations to Harwood Union High School and an addition to Crossett Brook Middle School that together total $59.5 million.
Built in 1965, the high school is in need of many upgrades to replace aging systems and modernize many features of the facility to bring it into compliance with current standards, improve energy efficiency, and accommodate the current student population.
The middle school, built in the late 1990s, has been designated as the campus to bring together all of the district’s seventh and eighth grade students who are now split between Crossett Brook and Harwood Union schools. That would mean adding approximately 100 more students to Crossett which would require additional classrooms and other spaces which come to $6 million in the proposal.
The board’s Wednesday agenda called for deciding the extent of the construction work a bond would address and to set the date for the vote to be held.
Board members last week reviewed results from a community survey about the project and discussed their own preferences. Just over 550 people participated in the survey which showed strong support for a vote in November. Respondents, however, were split on the dollar amounts they said they would be willing to support, ranging from 30% who said they could support a $60 million bond and 25% saying they could not support any bond.
Heading into Wednesday’s meeting, board leaders Torrey Smith, chair, and Tim Jones, vice chair, outlined several scenarios for the group to consider in crafting the ballot questions.
One option was to ask a single question that would encompass all of the proposed work for $60 million. Other suggestions offered various combinations of questions with specific elements of the construction listed separately such as a $5.7 million for the second gymnasium for the high school and $2.9 million to upgrade the high school’s track and field facilities.
“We anticipate that our prime deliberation this week will be figuring out how/if to incorporate the gym and track into the proposal,” Smith and Jones said in their memo to the board before the meeting.
Check online at WaterburyRoundabout.org for news from Wednesday’s meeting.