Franklin schools plans upgrades; loan gets initial approval

Franklin school buildings will get new roofs, repaved parking lots and added playground equipment during the next two years.

Franklin school board members gave initial approval to borrowing $2 million, which will allow the school district to make improvements to every school building, including fixing cracked asphalt, replacing the roof at an elementary school and buying security cameras and GPS equipment for buses. School board members would need to approve the $2 million bond again at their next meeting.

Union Elementary school will receive the bulk of the upgrades, totaling more than $775,000 to replace the roof, install de-humidifiers, repair walls and the exterior structure of the building, according to the school district’s project list.

Other top dollar projects include replacing asphalt at Needham Elementary School and Webb Elementary School and purchasing security cameras for the school buses. Projects range from about $5,000 to $380,000, and the majority of the projects would be done this summer.

Franklin’s debt payment will stay steady at about $14.5 million until 2022, Franklin executive director of finance Jeff Mercer said.

About 20 projects are included in the $2 million total, but another 26 upgrades or improvements are being considered in the future. The school district will need to pay off the $2 million bond within eight years, but officials could borrow additional money for future projects before then, Mercer said.

In 2020, the school district is planning for another $1.6 million in projects, including replacing roofing at Webb Elementary School for more than $500,000 and grinding the asphalt and pouring new pavement at Northwood Elementary for $280,000.

School officials had wanted to install additional trails, sidewalks and signage in the near future to improve the safety to their school buildings.

Superintendent David Clendening said he wants to push those projects back. If the city establishes a new tax-increment financing, or TIF, district along U.S. 31, the Franklin Redevelopment Commission could spend funds collected there to cover some of the projects, he said.

By the numbers

Here’s a look at the projects on Franklin’s to-do list:

$380,000: Strip and pour new asphalt at Webb Elementary School

$336,000: Replace roofing at Union Elementary School

$290,000: Replace exterior building structure at Union Elementary School

$125,000: Replace portions of asphalt at Needham Elementary School

$120,000: Purchase security cameras for school buses

$655,000: Other smaller projects, ranging from re-grouting the lap pool at Franklin Community Middle School to purchasing new playground equipment

Total: $1,906,000