Voters overwhelmingly approve Hansen School additionBy Jay Turner
The Hansen Elementary School will soon be expanding after voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a new eight-room addition at an estimated price tag of $4.1 million.
All six precincts backed the project, which will cost the average homeowner another $26 per year over the next 20 years. A total of 1,184 residents turned out at the polls and more than three-quarters of them voted yes, including 83 percent of voters in precinct 3 (165-35) and precinct 5 (141-29), 78 percent in precinct 4 (247-68), and 76 percent in precinct 2 (171-54). The margin of victory was considerably closer in precinct 1 (64-46), while in precinct 6 it was 110-54.
The approved two-story addition will replace four outdated modular classrooms at the Hansen with eight permanent classrooms. As part of the project, a new fire suppression system will also be installed throughout the school building, as well as a new loop around the building for fire truck access — two “substantial safety upgrades,” according to School Committee member and School Building Study Committee Chairman John Bonnanzio.
Bonnanzio said the new classrooms will utilize energy-efficient utilities and windows and a modern ventilation system. Construction on the project could begin as early as this fall and is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2016-17 school year.
From the perspective of the School Building Study Committee, Bonnanzio characterized the Hansen addition as the “first critical piece” of a coordinated effort to address school space needs within the district. The goal, he said, is to be proactive with rising enrollments and to delay the need for constructing a fourth elementary school for at least the next few decades.
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