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Published: Friday, 4/16/2004

Montpelier building $27.7M complex

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Alisha Richmond and her classmates will be making a major move while they're seniors at Montpelier High School.

They'll say goodbye in January, 2006, to their 1915 school building and find new lockers inside a new $27.7 million complex on the village's east side.

"I'm really excited about it," said Alisha, 16, who's now the sophomore class president. "It will be a new area and a larger school."

Construction crews are starting to work on the future Montpelier Exempted Village school, which was made possible in November, 2002, after voters approved an initial 4.4-mill bond issue and a 0.5-mill levy to cover the local share.

The 23-year bond issue will raise $5.5 million, with the state providing the rest.

Today at 2:30 p.m., several hundred residents are expected to gather at the future school site on Brown Road to mark the beginning of the long-awaited project.

"The community is very excited about this," Superintendent Tom Lavinder said.

He said people are eager for the construction largely because they recognize a need for updated buildings.

When the work's completed, the district's existing buildings - Montpelier High School, Superior Middle School, and Storrer Elementary School - will be razed, with the exception of a 1979 wing at the middle school, which includes the varsity gymnasium.

Mr. Lavinder said residents, parents, and staff members sat on a committee to make such school decisions, including the desired design of the 176,000-square-foot building.

The end product will mean change for the district, as all 1,200 students and their 77 teachers will be housed under the same roof for the first time.

Students will be separated into four wings, depending on their grade. Mr. Lavinder said the middle part of the complex will include a cafeteria-auditorium as well as a library-media center that's expected to be open to the community dur-

ing evening hours.

Mr. Lavinder said the project to date has stayed on budget and on track for occupancy late next year.

He said students won't be moved until after Christmas break, in January, 2006.

At a meeting earlier this week, board members agreed not to make any initial staff or bus route changes as a result of the new building.

Contact Kim Bates at:

kimbates@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.



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