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Kent Backs Plan for High School Upgrades

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KENT—Kent residents voted enthusiastically Jan. 8 in support of a $5.64 million project to upgrade facilities at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village.

The town cast a total of 128 votes, 102 for and 26 against.

The residents of the six-town school district voted overwhelmingly, 579-206, in support of the proposal. Only Canaan, which sends the most students to the school and will bear the biggest percentage of the expense, voted against the plan, 80-97.

Cornwall voted 46 yest to 7 no; Falls Village, 65 yes and 22 no; Salisbury, 172 yes, 14 no, and Sharon, 114 yes to 40 no. 

The school was built in 1939, the first regional school east of the Hudson River. It has been expanded and renovated over the years, with a large addition that added wings to the north and south of the original building being constructed in 1962 and a subsequent addition in 2001 of an agriculture education center, library and updated science labs.

The School Building Committee had a facilities report prepared in 2020 and the Board of Education, aware that the high school’s current debt service is expiring, decided the time was ripe to take the project to the public.

It is expected that the issuance of a new bond for $5.6 million will result in a total member town assessment of $138,859 in 2024-25. The impact on Kent’s assessment is expected to be $17,778. Canaan, by contrast, will be assessed $49,009 for the improvements.

The2020 Jacunski Humes Architects report listed 58 areas in and around the building that could be improved.

The building committee settled on the 12 projects it believed to be of the highest priority, including renovations to the cafeteria and auditorium, $3,439,585; science wing restroom upgrades, $190,317; tennis court replacement, $670,000; auditorium and cafeteria audio, sound and technology, $164,813; a south end generator, $450,000; masonry repair, $174,150; a new fire alarm system, $162,000; a circuit breaker box replacement, $121,500; restoration of the cupola, $93,000; and installation of air handlers in different sections of the school, bids included in cafeteria and auditorium upgrades.

J. A. Rosa of Wolcott has been hired as the general contractor and will focus on the auditorium, cafeteria, room 133 and the bathrooms. Classic Turf of Woodbury will build the tennis courts.

Work begins in June after school recesses for the summer.

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