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New London Schools has levy for athletic complex on ballot

Cary Ashby • Oct 24, 2019 at 9:00 AM

NEW LONDON — New London Local Schools is looking to build a new athletic complex on its campus with the approval of a combination levy.

The combination levy is on the Nov. 5 ballot and includes two parts. 

Athletics issue

Superintendent Brad Romano was asked about the purpose of the 30-year, 3.45-mill levy for the proposed athletic complex.

“This is a bond issue. Our goal with the passage of this issue is to build a new athletic complex on campus that includes a new football field, track, field house, locker room space, weight room space and improvements to our baseball and softball fields,” he said.

The Wildcats don’t play their home football games on the same complex as the schools, but rather at the New London Recreation Park.

“Since this is a bond issue, it will not generate on a yearly basis as other school funding measures will. It will generate approximately $6.7 million for the construction of the new facility. It will cost an additional $120.75 per year based on $100,000 of valuation, but we will defer the increase until 2023, which coincides with the bond maturity of the academic building that was passed in the late 1990s,” Romano said.

Permanent improvement

The other portion of the ballot issue is a 2.9-mill permanent improvement levy for the maintenance and upgrades to the current academic building, which is about 20 years old, the superintendent said. The facility at 1 Wildcat Drive, New London, houses the elementary, middle and high schools.

“The permanent improvement levy will increase the tax base of a $100,000 home by $101.50 and generate approximately $345,000 per year for five years,” Romano said.

“The permanent improvement levy will be used to provide much-needed repairs and renovations to Wildcat Drive and our parking lots, refurbishing the low-slope/flat roof of the building, enhance the security features of the campus, improve (the) technology infrastructure of our campus and continue with our bus replacement cycle.”

What if the levies don’t get approved?

“This is a combination levy, so either both pass or neither pass,” Romano said. “Continued failure of the permanent improvement levy will result in the district having to divert resources from educational programs to fund the necessary updates/maintenance of our academic building and grounds. Long-term, this could result in the elimination of programs and opportunities for our students.”

“The current athletic facility is barely meeting the basic needs of our athletic programs. Without the passage of the bond, the district will need to make difficult decisions regarding the safety and functionality of the current facility, which may result in us altering program times, negatively impacting fan experiences and limiting student opportunities,” Romano said.

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