The Salem School Board voted Tuesday night for a school renovation plan that would provide extensive renovations for Fisk and Soule Elementary Schools and partial renovation work at Haigh Elementary School.
The final wording for the bond articles for the 2013 school warrant will be voted on at a meeting next week, but the general framework of the board's desires was agreed to unanimously Tuesday.
An initial article would provide for Fisk and Soule renovations without additional classrooms and a large multi-purpose room. The bonded number mentioned for that renovation would be $15.8 million. Additionally, about $369,000 would be bonded for work at Haigh.
A second article would include an additional $805,000 in renovations for Haigh, contingent on the first article passing. The board mentioned Tuesday there is the expectation a citizens petition will be filed to include the cost or a large multi-purpose room at Soule.
The decision comes after months of discussion, including a public forum on the matter last month.
Last year, a bond to fully renovate the three elementary schools failed to receive the needed 60 percent to pass. Following a study that showed continued declining enrollments for the Salem School District, the idea of limited renovations at Haigh was considered.
"We do need to renovate the schools, regardless of the population," board member Michael Carney, Jr., said. "The elementary schools do not meet the current needs of the community."
School Board Vice Chair Patricia Corbett said she believed this was "the hardest decision we have had to make" in her time on the board.
"We need to have a safe building, for any purpose," School Board Chair Pamela Barry said of Haigh.
SAU 57 Superintendent Dr. Michael Delahanty suggested the second $805,000 article for Haigh renovations because some items needed to be done at the school are "all or nothing propositions."
Delahanty said the multi-purpose room at Soule would be a "nominal" amount but didn't have an exact figure.