HOPE — It is not too early to start thinking about the June town meeting for the Hope Select Board.

The board met Jan. 11 with members of the Hope School Committee, including Chair Tim Lock. The school has been in the process of renovations and upgrades since at least 2018 and will soon need some big-ticket items including a new boiler.

Lock said the boiler has failed and the school is getting by on a temporary fix.

The upgrades include paving work in the parking lot and roof replacement. One challenge is that the cost of building materials and construction has gone up. In addition, demand for services is up, and it is getting hard to find contractors to do the work. Officials are concerned they may not even get bids on the projects.

Lock said an expert will be brought in to assess the needs of the school and get a better estimate of the cost.

Improvements already made include replacing lights with LED lights, brick work, painting parts of the building and replacing doors and windows.

The school may add heat pumps. Grants are available for energy-saving technology and may make that a cost-effective option.

Citizens may also vote at town meeting on whether to grant an easement to Sarah McBrian and Wayne Breda for a utility trench that runs under Blueberry Hill Road to service their solar project. The board has been working with them on the issue and, if it is put on the town meeting warrant, the board will likely support approving the easement.

It was reported at the meeting that Rick Bresnahan is stepping down as chair of the Roads Advisory Committee. It was also noted that the committee has set aside discussion of whether to start a town public works department. The idea has been proposed and created some controversy in the town. The present system is for roads to be handled through Road Commissioner John Monroe. There was discussion about whether the committee is needed anymore since the public works idea has been rejected.

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