Say no to $8 million separate question for gymnasium and auditorium
By Adam Hocking
STRATFORD — Voters in Stratford supported a $16 million referendum to renovate and update Stratford Middle/High School and the elementary school but said no to a separate question asking for $8 million to build a new gymnasium and auditorium.
The $16 million will provide for an HVAC upgrade to the middle/high school and elementary school, new classrooms at the middle/high school, asbestos abatement in the middle/high school and elementary, heavy remodeling in the middle/high school, and light remodeling at the elementary.
Materials provided by the district show that the $16 million referendum, which will be applied over 20 years, will impact a home valued at $150,000 by raising its property taxes by $148.50 annually. Stratford School District Superintendent Scott Winch said $148.50 annual impact could be lessened if the district borrows money “in two stages.”
“I assume we will borrow this fall, so the impact will be on this December tax bill,” Winch wrote in an email to Hub City Times when asked when the referendum would begin impacting taxpayers.
The $16 million question passed with just over 56 percent of voters supporting the measure. Just under 60 percent of voters said no to the $8 million question.
Winch characterized the split result as bittersweet.
“It is (question one) taking care of the boilers and those kind of things that’s going to set the building up for quite some time, but obviously there are needs for phy ed teachers in their space as well and as well as our varsity athletic teams and our youth athletic teams. There was more than a fair share of people there telling us how they could use the auditorium for performances … and for language arts and everything else,” Winch said.
Winch noted on Tuesday night there is not yet a plan to find other ways to potentially address the gymnasium and auditorium situations.
“I think Monday night we’ll have to have that discussion at the school board meeting and see what they want to do and go from there. It’s a bittersweet thing,” Winch said.