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BRATTLEBORO — After a 508-126 vote Tuesday, the Windham Southeast School District gained authority to borrow as much as $2 million for an energy efficient construction project at Academy School aimed at improving special education instruction and replacing old windows.

“I am very thankful to the community members who were coming out to vote and I am thrilled to see this project moving forward,” Academy School Principal Kelly Dias said Wednesday. “We have been creative with space for a long time and we are very much looking forward to having remodeled, dedicated spaces that are conducive to the best teaching and learning that we can provide for our staff and students.”

Residents from Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney participated in Tuesday’s vote. School Board Chairman David Schoales said the board is pleased the community approved the financing.

“We have every intention of using grants and current reserve funds to cover the costs of the project, but it is good to know we can borrow if need be to complete it,” he said Wednesday. “It is really needed.”

At an informational meeting held remotely last week, Corey Frehsee of Stevens & Associates said a 2,000-square-foot addition will be built off the back of the West Brattleboro-based school, a temporary modular building known as “the white house” where special education instruction is provided will be removed, a resource room inside the school also used for special education instruction will be renovated and windows in 14 classrooms will be replaced.

Frehsee anticipates construction could start in September and will take take about six to eight months to complete.

At the meeting, Dias said the project will improve teaching and learning, especially for a group of learners who are most likely to be marginalized. They are expected to feel more included when all instruction happens under one roof.

Photographer / Multimedia Editor

Has been working as a photojournalist since 2007, before moving into newspapers, he worked with an NGO called Project HOPE. He then went to work for the Press and Sun-Bulletin in New York, and then in New England working for the Brattleboro Reformer.