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Somerset OKs school referendum

Somerset School District voters approved a $7.95 million referendum to help expand and upgrade its schools. There were 675 "yes" votes vs. 512 "no" votes.

The money will help the district add to and remodeling and renovation projects at the high school building and site; replace, remodel and improve areas at the middle school; and acquiring equipment, furnishings and fixtures.

At the high school, capacity will increase by 124 students (from 400 to 524 students) due to added classrooms, along with expanded music, food service and athletics space.

The funding will provide energy savings at the high school by replacing pneumatic heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) controls with digital controls and a 900 gallon water heater with a high efficiency water heater.

It will also provide energy savings at the middle school by replacing two 38-year-old oil, gas and propane burning boilers with two high efficiency boilers.

The approved referendum will also upgrade the middle school gym to allow two physical education classes to be taught at the same time and to allow two athletic events to run at the same time by turning the gym curtain 90 degrees and moving four existing basketball backboards from the east and west walls to the north and south walls of the gym.

Money will also be provided replace the warping and deteriorating old floor in the middle school gym.

Funding will also be available to replace the high school parking lot surface that has pot holes, alligator cracking and is deteriorating.

Somerset property owners would see an approximate decrease in school related taxes of $18 per $100,000 of property value if the referendum passes, according to the district.