The basement and first floor of Watertown Middle School will be getting air conditioning after the City Council approved funding last week.
Over the last few years the Middle School’s HVAC system has been updated floor by floor, and the basement and first floor are the final areas to be upgraded, said City Manager George Proakis.
On Oct. 10, the Council approved borrowing $315,000 which will be used by the Public Buildings Department to design and complete the work by the spring of 2024. There was already $72,000 in funding for the project in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan. The combined HVAC upgrades are budgeted to cost $820,000.
The Council unanimously approved the funding unanimously. Watertown has opened two new elementary schools, renovated a third, and is about to start construction of the new Watertown High School. While the new high school is being built, WHS moved to a modular campus across the street from the Middle School on PFC Richard Moxley Field. The high school students also use a portion of the Middle School basement.
Before the vote, Councilor Lisa Feltner said she supported the project.
“I know I am getting a lot of feedback from people saying, ‘Now what about the Middle School,'” Feltner said. “So, I am really pleased to see Watertown’s dedication to the ongoing maintenance of the buildings.”
Printers for the City Clerk
The Council also approved spending $27,000 on two printers for the City Clerk’s office. The new equipment will speed up the processing of mail-in ballots, Proakis said.
The money will purchase a high-speed inkjet address printer and an “envelopener” with high-speed inkjet printer.
“It has become clear to us that it would benefit us to have this system sooner rather than later. The staff in the Clerk’s office is excited about having the idea to be able to improve the efficiency of the vote-by-mail system, which currently often involves seeking out a bunch of our poll workers to sit with our staff to label items, get things in the mail, sort papers, etc. The address printer and the envelope machine takes care of these things in a way that is most effective.”
The Clerk’s office has not spent all of the funding allocated for salaries because some positions have not been filled for some or all of the past year, Proakis said.