CCS up for $4.5m investment from CVSD bond

The Champlain Valley School District (CVSD), of which Charlotte Central School (CCS) is a part, would receive $4.5 million of the $6 million that’s up for a bond vote in March. On Town Meeting Day, voters in Charlotte, Shelburne, Hinesburg, St. George, and Williston will decide via Australian ballot whether or not the capital improvement project is a go. All five towns need to approve the bond vote in order for it to pass.

Thermal imaging shows heat escaping from the windows at CCS; infrastructure repairs will improve energy efficiency and help regulate classroom temperatures. Photos courtesy Dore & Whittier Architects.

There are current capital projects that the school district is paying for in Shelburne and Williston, both approved before the school district consolidated; those two items total over $20 million. Charlotte is due for many structural improvements that proved difficult to fund in the years before the consolidation—when CCS was its on entity, school budgets had trouble passing through voters even without the added expense of millions of dollars for building maintenance.

Jeanne Jensen, chief operations officer for CVSD, said that Charlotte is the last school in the district to need such expansive—and expensive—repairs. The other two schools already began their capital improvement projects, and she said Hinesburg Community School was historically able to stick to a schedule that maintained the property with smaller expenses spread out over time. That building is in good shape, she said.

Literature shared by the CVSD school board outlines the building’s issues: water-damaged siding, inadequate building insulation, poorly controlled, outdated mechanical systems, inadequate mechanical ventilation, and leaking, compromised siding on the exterior of the building. These factors contribute to uncomfortably warm and alternately, uncomfortably cold, temperatures in classrooms and cause “significant waste in the form of out-sized fuel oil heating bills.”

New ventilation systems and ductwork are part of the project, as well as new or updated plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and fire prevention systems. There will also be significant improvements to the building envelope, which currently features leaking stucco and siding and rotted underlayers of the roof in the front of the building.

If approved, the building project will begin immediately, with planning and design scheduled through December of 2020 and exterior construction work beginning in April 2021. The entire project is due to be completed in August 2021.

Tax implications for the bill are expected to increase district-wide at a rate of $.01 per hundred dollars, with the annual impact on a$100k home to be $10; a $400k home would have an annual impact of $40.

Interested community members and CVSD families can attend an informational meeting and guided tour of the school on Monday, Feb. 17 at 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 8:30 a.m. There is also a meeting covering the entire bond at Champlain Valley Union High School on Monday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m.