Rumney Memorial School, with its idyllic setting in the hills of Middlesex, appears neat and tidy at first glance.
"It's been painted, but it's nonetheless-- it's worn and it's got some rot," Principal Adam Rosen said.
But on closer inspection there's a backlog of work on the 1961-era building.
"The original part of the building from 1961, the big wooden beams that support the roof have actually been downgraded and we've seen some deflection under the snow load and they need to be reinforced," Rosen said.
From inadequate support beams to a tiny kitchen that was never designed to cook food. Of the 400 plus schools across Vermont, it's a prime example of the aging infrastructure of some schools.
"A lot of the building stock is quite old, built post World War II, you know '50s, '60s, and even the buildings built in the '90s. You know over 20 years or so, you need to do work on your school, just like you do work on your house," said David Epstein of TruexCullins Architects.
But since 2007, when the Legislature suspended school construction aid, individual communities have had to shoulder the financial burden. The $4.5 million Middlesex bond measure that failed Tuesday would have meant a property tax increase for some upward of $300. Despite what is normally strong support for the school, voters said no by a 230-168 margin.
"With the economy the ways it's been the last few years, people are just concerned about the uncertainty of things economically," said Dexter Lefavour, who opposed the bond.
East Montpelier residents went through the same exercise last spring, rejecting a $10 million school construction bond before they approved a scaled-down version.
State education officials say despite the absence of state aid, a handful of renovation projects have gone forward and that communities are doing their best to maintain their schools. But it hasn't been without its challenges.
"With 17-million-square-feet in 400 buildings, as you might imagine, there are a lot of needs in schools," said Jeff Francis of the Vermont Superintendents Association. "Resources are short all-around, so when some schools and school districts make decisions to fund projects and others can't, it does raise the question of equity."
There are no statewide estimates for deferred maintenance. But some put the cost of weatherization alone at upward of $50 million.
"Creating good schools, high performance schools, both from an energy standpoint and from an educational standpoint is a great investment for Vermont and I hope that together we can come up with a solution," Epstein said.
Middlesex School Board members say that Tuesday's "no" vote doesn't change the urgency of the work that needs to be done.
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>
Friday, March 7 2014 7:28 PM EST2014-03-08 00:28:44 GMT
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there. More >>
Williston Police say, the powder was from a generic prescription medication. They say, the man was from Burlington and had the paperwork in his pocket with his medicine and that's how it got on there.More >>