LISBON – The Town Council and School Committee will hold joint public hearings on separate town and school bond proposals.

The first hearing is at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Community School on Mill Street; the second at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at the Town Office.

The School Department is proposing a late winter or early spring referendum on its $500,000 bond to pay for a study of the costs and benefits of either renovating the high school or replacing it. According to a town mailing to residents this week, renovating could cost up to $20 million and building could cost up to $45 million. At this time, these costs would fall on local taxpayers, the mailing said.

A public tour of the high school and an informational meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 2, weather permitting.

In 2004-05, the high school construction project was No. 27 on the state’s project list. The state recently announced it does not intend to accept funding applications in the foreseeable future, Superintendent Shannon Welsh said. And because consolidated schools may receive a higher rating, she said, “We do not anticipate receiving state funds for a high school project.”

The school’s most recent accreditation report noted several concerns including an antiquated heating system, “and it is vital that Lisbon has plans to address these facility concerns before our five year accreditation report is due in 2010.”

“We want to provide as much information to the public as possible so they can decide whether the best approach is to renovate or build new. We will only spend as much money as it takes to provide this information,” Welsh said.

An architectural and engineering firm has estimated the analysis will cost $500,000.

The $2 million municipal bond would fund projects such as roads, Public Works Capital Improvement Equipment and construction and maintenance of the Public Works building.

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