NORWICH, CT (WFSB) -- The Norwich City Council is working on a way to figure out how to not to spend tens of millions in needed infrastructure for nearly a dozen city school buildings.

In an effort to come up with more ideas, they ran an online survey to get input from taxpayers.

The district has seven elementary schools and two middle schools.

A draft plan is in the works to consolidate four or five of them, meaning they would possibly sell two or three, like Mahan School, and renovate the others to accommodate the 3,500 students they serve.

The Mahan School sits on a highly-desirable commercial strip on Salem Turnpike.

Otherwise there are long-term necessary maintenance costs looming for city taxpayers, a bill the state wouldn’t pick up.

“In today’s economy, neighborhood schools don’t work. It’s too expensive. This is why we are looking at consolidating the number of schools the city maintains but still giving quality education to the students,” said Norwich Alderwoman Stacy Gould.

The plan proposes to either renovate or close Veterans Elementary School on the east side, depending if the other four elementary schools would have enough capacity to house the 3,000 students.

“The operational costs savings are real but the long-term costs you’re going to have to incur are even more for what we are talking about for this plan,” said Mark Bettencourt, chairman of the School Facilities Committee.

The school district already crunched the numbers and they could save millions.

Of the nine buildings in the district, their projected savings is pegged at $11.3 million.

“If it’s better for the town, I’m all for it but if is something that is going to interrupt it, going to raise taxes on us then I wouldn’t want to go for it,” said taxpayer James Kantzios.

“It’s going to be too many kids in one class, why have that they’re not going to get hands on taught like that,” said Mackenzie Noel, of Norwich.

The committee has been meeting monthly for more than a year.

They’re now scheduled to meet on Aug. 19 to approve a final report to the city council.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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