Aug 13, 2015 7:14 PM
Sparks fly during Dover public forum over proposed $86.5 million high school
DOVER - Residents packed the media room at the McConnell Center Wednesday night, as a number of people spoke for and against the proposed $86.5 million high school.
For over a year, the Joint Building Committee has been debating about whether or not they should build a new high school to replace the existing one, or if they should renovate the current facility to address some safety concerns. Initially, it was thought the project would cost approximately $50 million.
One man stood up and asked if even more money will be needed in a few years. Another said he feels taxpayers, who will bear the cost of paying back the money borrowed to construct the building, are being treated unfairly.
School Board Chair Amanda Russell, Vice Chair Betsey Andrews Parker and State Senator David Watters all supported building a new school.
On Thursday, Mayor Karen Weston said "something has to be done" about Dover High School and Regional Career Technical Center, and when she compares the cost of renovation with the cost of building new, there is only a $3 million difference, based upon the projections provided by HMFH Architects, who presented a series of options to the JBC earlier this year.
When asked by NH1 News if she was surprised by the price tag of a new building, Weston said she was.
"I think all of us were sticker shocked," she replied.
However, if the city stalls, it will cost taxpayers even more money, Weston said.
"They have even projected that if we do nothing this year and wait till next year, that the cost would increase by approximately 40%. So it would go from the $86.5 million up to $91 million."
The city council will decide on whether or not they will borrow additional monies to pay for the project on August 26. The state will be contributing $13.5 million toward upgrades to the regional career technical center.
Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter @KHaasNH1.