An energy efficiency project intended to save money may now wind up costing the town three times more than originally expected.
A formerly $750,000 project to replace windows at two of Canton’s public schools is now estimated at $2.3 million since contaminants were found in the window caulking.
Superintendent Jeffrey Granatino told selectmen that asbestos and PCBs were present in the window caulking at the Lt. Peter M. Hansen Elementary School and the William H. Galvin Middle School, where the replacement work is being performed.
“In its dormant state, undisturbed, it’s not going to pose a threat to the folks around, but it’s there, we know it's there, and we want to address it,” Granatino said at a recent selectmen meeting.
The cost for replacing the windows will now be about $2.3 million, which includes replacing doors, as well. The school department hopes to complete the work in the summer to avoid exposure to the contaminants while construction is taking place.
Ideally, work would begin summer 2014, Granatino said.
The original $750,000 project was partly funded by the Massachusetts School Building Authority, and Granatino said he hoped that group would also fund the expanded project.
That will be determined in April, but the town will still likely be on the hook for about $1.1 million, Granatino said.
School Committee chairman John Bonnanzio said his board had not taken a position on how it should be funded, and seeking advice was one reason school officials were approaching selectmen, he said.
The original project was also funded through year-end unexpended funds, known as “free cash,” but this year selectmen hope to use that money to fund a senior center at the former Knights of Columbus building on Pleasant Street.
Multiple selectmen spoke against using capital reserves to fund the project; selectman Avril Elkort suggested that a bond at this time would take advantage of Canton’s AAA Standard and Poor’s bond rating.
Selectman took no vote, but chairman Robert Burr said the school committee could count on selectmen to support the project at Town Meeting. He asked that school committee members also support the senior center.