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Residents weigh in on newly approved Burlington High renovations

Burlington residents are weighing in after voters gave overwhelming approval to a $70 million bond issue to pay for renovations to Burlington High School,

Evan Kaye, an alumnus, said the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities and safety influenced his support for the bond issue. 

"The entrance points of the buildings always kind of weirded me out," Kaye said. "You can enter the building from a variety of points without having to check in through anyone, which definitely seems to pose some sort of safety concern."

Kaye also said was a driving factor in his vote.

Kevin Barry said accessibility was concern for him as well. But he voted against the ballot measure due to the high cost.

"I thought it could be spent better elsewhere, perhaps subsidized affordable housing," Barry said. "They could perhaps make the improvements needed at the high school for a lot less money."

The cost of the renovations had been a sticking point for weeks in the build-up to the election, even causing city council to delay their vote in September to investigate how it could affect the city's credit rating.

Gene Bergman agreed the price tag was high, but supported it because of the condition of the school, which was built in 1964. 

"While it gives me pause, it did not say to me that I shouldn't be supporting an expenditure that is necessary to keep the buildings from falling apart," Bergman said. "My kids went to that high school, I don't want water leaking in it and I don't want it to be an energy pit."

Burlington School District Superintendent Yaw Obeng thanked the community in a press release Wednesday.

"Thank you on behalf of our students who need and deserve accessible and inclusive 21st Century learning environments," Obeng said. "Thank you on behalf of our teachers, para-educators and support staff who will soon have the ability to use classrooms as a tool to deliver learning."

The project is scheduled to break ground in spring 2020.

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