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Fulton Holds Public Hearing On Construction Plan, But There Was Almost No Public To Hear It

<p>Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch, at far right, opens the public hearing to a nearly empty high school auditorium.  The one member of the public who came, retired principal Barbara Hubbard, is at top left.  The others are either district administrators or Board of Education members.</p>
Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch, at far right, opens the public hearing to a nearly empty high school auditorium. The one member of the public who came, retired principal Barbara Hubbard, is at top left. The others are either district administrators or Board of Education members.

The Fulton City School District was legally obligated to hold Wednesday night’s public hearing on its $3.85 million proposed construction project.

The public was not legally obligated to show up.

So, while district taxpayers were eating dinner, working or watching Wheel of Fortune, Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch presented the project to an audience made up of four administrators, two construction consultants, four Board of Education members, one reporter and a single member of the public:  Barbara Hubbard.

As in, retired Fulton school principal Barbara Hubbard.

<p>Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch outlines the construction project at the public hearing.</p>
Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch outlines the construction project at the public hearing.

“I want to thank everyone for coming to this public hearing,” said Lynch, to the mostly empty seats in the high school auditorium.

Lynch quickly summarized what has already been said about the project:

There are two propositions.  One would spend $2.75 million to replace old boilers in the high school, upgrade wiring for technology in the junior high and Volney, Granby and Lanigan elementary schools, and make security improvements such as better lighting, motion sensors and door locks.  The other would spent $1.1 million to repair roofs at the junior high and Fairgrieve elementary.

The security improvements and the roof work were originally in the building project approved in 2007 but were pulled from the project as higher priority pieces of the project required more money.

The district expects that none of the cost of the project would be paid for by taxpayers, though it is careful to say “little or no cost”.  The district has $2.9 million left in EXCEL aid, which is a pool of special state aid approved a few years back to encourage districts to make infrastructure improvements.  The boiler/wiring/security project can use most of the EXCEL aid.  The roofing project can be paid for by using regular building aid, which would cover 98% of the cost, with leftover EXCEL aid picking up the remaining 2%.

If voters approve the project on December 9 (voting 9am – 9pm at the four elementary schools), and if the state approves the project in time, the roofing work will be done next summer while the high school boiler replacement won’t happen until the summer of 2011.

Sticking to his script, Lynch said, “We’d like to open it to any questions,” and looked at the lone member of the audience.  After a pause, he said, “C’mon, Barb.”  But Hubbard shrugged her shoulders and the public hearing ended.

Board members then took a quick tour of the new girls locker room at the high school, which is just a few days from finished.  It’s part of the current construction project.  Lockers have been installed, with benches coming next.  The district expects to open the gym after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The new hallway between the locker room and the gym is also nearly complete.  In the gym, new fluorescent lighting has made the room much brighter.  New scoreboards will be going in this week.

<p>Board members and administrators look over the nearly-complete girls' locker room at G. Ray Bodley High School.  The locker room is expected to open after the Thanksgiving break.</p>
Board members and administrators look over the nearly-complete girls' locker room at G. Ray Bodley High School. The locker room is expected to open after the Thanksgiving break.
<p>The new bathroom in the girls locker room.</p>
The new bathroom in the girls locker room.
<p>The new hallway, carved out of what used to be part of the girls' locker room, is nearly ready to open.</p>
The new hallway, carved out of what used to be part of the girls' locker room, is nearly ready to open.
<p>Administrator Jerry Seguin, the man in charge of the district's construction projects, gestures as Board of Education members Rosemary Occhino, Robbin Griffin and Brian Hotaling, along with Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch look into what will become the new coaches' and trainer's room in the new girls locker room at the high school.</p>
Administrator Jerry Seguin, the man in charge of the district's construction projects, gestures as Board of Education members Rosemary Occhino, Robbin Griffin and Brian Hotaling, along with Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch look into what will become the new coaches' and trainer's room in the new girls locker room at the high school.

2 Comments

  1. Jim:

    A good point, and we agree. We are working on a calendar of events site and have been for a while. (We’re a very small organization and big projects take a long time. A loooooooong time ;)

    The school district did its part: It placed a large ad on our home page for a week and advertised in local dead-tree newspapers to get out the date of the public hearing.

    -Dave Bullard/Managing Editor

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