BELLOWS FALLS -- The village's middle school will soon get the finishing touches on its makeover after the Rockingham School Board awarded a bid to a Massachusetts company to repair a section of the building's roof.

School Board Chairman Jim "Jiggs" McAuliffe he and his colleagues voted unanimously Monday to task R&H Roofing of Easthampton, Mass., with replacing a 1955 addition of the Bellows Falls Middle School roof at a cost of $86,846. He said R&H Roofing's bid was not the lowest of the four received, but the School Board will now get more for its money. McAuliffe told the Reformer about one-third to 40 percent of the roof will be replaced. The work was not included in the $10.5 million renovation that began in April 2012.

Edie Cole, the business manager of the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, said R&H Roofing's bid came in at $11.28 per square foot. She said another company had a lower bid, but would not include the roof's curbing, which accounts for roughly an extra 1,000 square feet of work.

McAuliffe told the Reformer the Rockingham School Board did not include the roof replacement in the renovation project -- handled by Trumbull-Nelson Construction Company -- because its members did not feel it was crucial at that particular time.

"It would have been nice to have, but we didn't think it was critical," he said, adding that the project included a 10 percent contingency for undetermined purposes.


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"We thought that if we were fortunate enough not to spend the contingency, we would be able to have funds available to do that portion of the roof."

McAuliffe said the roof is not in dire condition, but must be tended to. He said R&H is finishing some other projects (including one in northern Vermont) and can probably "tackle this pretty quickly." He said the work with likely begin sometime in the fall. He told the Reformer it is important to get the work done by the winter because it is difficult for a flat roof to hold snow.

With the renovation, the bathrooms were redone (and some were added to the cafeteria) and all the students now have personal lockers. One of the most noticeable differences is perhaps the new entrance to the school and the pathway leading up to it. Most of the project was finished by March 2013, though a few minor aspects needed to be completed after that.

The renovation earned the Rockingham School Board and Bellows Falls Middle School Design Committee a preservation award from the Preservation Trust of Vermont. They were nominated by the project's lead architect, John Hemmelgarn of Black River Design.

McAuliffe said that later in Monday's meeting, School Board members voted to approve a bid on Chromebook laptop computers, which are manufactured by Google. He said the cost is included in the School Board's budget. He said more computers are required because the new state standardized testing is taken online.

In other business:

-- McAuliffe said the School Board appointed a literacy teacher for Saxtons River Elementary School and approved a long-term substitute for a teacher that is on maternity leave.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.