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Grant could offset $1.3 million school repairs

Date: 9/15/2010

Sept. 15, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- Town officials are trying to take advantage of a new grant program offered by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to offset the costs of structural repairs to the junior high school.

If granted, the MSBA's Green Repair Program would reimburse the town 57.7 percent of the $1.3 million renovations, which include a new roof, outside doors and windows. The repairs are currently slated for fiscal year 2013 as part of the town's Capital Improvement Program.

"It's a win-win situation. We'd get almost $730,000 [back from the state]. The taxpayers won't have to pay that money," City Councilor George Bitzas said.

Bitzas joined City Councilor John Walsh to sponsor a resolution authorizing a Statement of Interest (SOI) to be sent to the MSBA. The School Committee has already approved the submission of the SOI, a necessary first step in the grant process.

The junior high school's 25-year-old roof was inspected in 2007 and given a five-year lifespan, Mayor Richard Cohen noted.

The new roof, doors and windows would allow the school to be more energy efficient, saving taxpayers' money in the long run, he added.

When asked how Cohen would use the savings if the town received the grant, he replied he was unsure at this time.

The city council will vote on the resolution at its next meeting on Sept. 20. The deadline for all SOI to the MSBA is Sept. 22.

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