Referendum on school renovation plans passes in Southington - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Referendum on school renovation plans passes in Southington

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SOUTHINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

A referendum on a plan to renovate the two middle schools in Southington was passed by the voters Tuesday night.

Two years ago, voters approved a similar plan, and on Tuesday, they went back to the polls to take up the issue again.

Voters previously gave the green light for the town to fix up the town's two aging middle schools, but the vote on Tuesday was to approve whether or not more money will be given to fund the project.

"I went to junior high at Kennedy, and it hasn't been touched since," said Marcia Phelps, of Southington. "I believe it's time for the middle schools to be updated."

In 2011, the $85 million plan was easily passed to renovate both Kennedy and DePaulo middle schools. The initial design came in at a cost of more than $99 million.

A good chunk of the money includes cleaning up high levels of PCBs that were discovered. Architects and planners cut items and changed some features and materials to cut costs, but it's still running over budget.

Since voters approved the referendum, the project's final price tag would be $89.7 million.

The motion passed with 1,377 voting in favor of it and 344 voting against it.

So, voters spent the day heading to the polls, deciding on whether or not to borrow an additional $4.7 million to finish fixing up the schools.

"I think it's going to pass," said James Paul Jr., of Southington.

Not everyone agreed, though.

"I think it's just too much money," said Irene Bartley. "The senior citizens in this town can't live here no more. They're just spending too much money."

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