Photo: The Butler school will have its original roof replaced in the summer of 2024.
The “last” of the $8.7 million Belmont received in American Rescue Plan Act funding will be spent to create secure entries at all district schools and replace the 123-year-old roof on the Butler school.
In January, the Select Board voted to allocate the remaining $1,137,214 in the town’s ARPA account to go towards capital needs. After reviewing the capital projects in the town that align with the ARPA spending requirements, the Comprehensive Capital Budget Committee Chair Christine Doyle returned to the board on April 3 with two recommended projects:
- The creation of security vestibules with security cameras in three district schools totaling $245,000
- The remaining $892,214 will be combined with $607,786 in discretionary capital funds to be mainly used to repair the Daniel Butler Elementary School’s roof.
A security vestibule is a secure room between the school’s outer door and the building interior, allowing visitors access to one space at a time. The structure limits and regulates entry, allowing more efficient screening of people entering the school.
The three vestibules will cost $75,000, and the upgraded cameras and technology are priced at $170,000. Doyle said the Select Board’s OK will allow the Facilities Department to advance the project immediately, with the vestibules and cameras completed by the start of school in September. The CCBC will request an additional $160,000 in the fiscal 2025 budget for further camera upgrades in the other three schools.
“I think the security additions are timely,” said Board Chair Mark Paolillo, noting how schools around the country are stepping up measures to keep students and teachers safe.
The Butler slate roof is part of the original structure built in 1900 and is showing its age. David T. Blazon, director of the town’s Facilities Department, told the board the existing slate roof will be completely replaced with a synthetic version that is comparable in price with the natural rock. Due to a lot of engineering specifications and prep work needed, the job will take place in the summer of 2024 when students are not in the building.
Blazon said the new roof could be expected to last for a century.
While the ARPA account is now at zero, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will remain empty, said Town Administrator Patrice Garvin. She noted that many projects using ARPA funds are estimates of what they expect to spend on a job. If bids come in less than what was allocated, the account could once again have a positive balance in the future.