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Kent sets referendum on trooper in school

KENT — At their Nov. 17 meeting, the Board of Selectmen finalized the wording of the Friday, Dec. 2 special town meeting.

Two expense items will be under consideration. The first is to approve the expenditure of $200,000 for the hiring of a second state trooper to serve as a School Resource Officer when Kent Center School is in session. During the months when school is not in session, the trooper would serve the town’s needs in many capacities, including traffic control.

The second item would approve the town’s reimbursing the Kent Volunteer Fire Department for expenses it incurs for contracted emergency services.

A referendum vote on the two items will be held on Thursday, Dec. 15. Voting will be at Town Hall.

After years of imagining the future of the historic Swift House, the Board of Selectmen took the next step toward bringing the structure into compliance with building codes and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

That next step is to invite architects to create a needs assessment that will indicate the broad parameters of work to be done.

The selectmen unanimously approved the final wording of the Request for Proposals (RFP) forms that indicate the scope of the preliminary assessment work.

The Swift House has been closed for three years.

The general scope of the work includes drafting a master floor plan and perhaps an elevation drawing. The assessment needs only be specific enough to allow for creating cost estimates.

The selectmen agreed that the HVAC system will need attention.

One challenge is the steep staircase between the first and second floors, the latter currently used only for storage. The Swift House task force, a volunteer group that has been meeting to study the needs and bring the conversation to its present point, felt that although the public would not have reason to access the second floor, nevertheless the architect should consider modifications if only for the safety of those few might need to use the stairs to access the storage.

Following up on the selectmen’s action, the RFP was to be advertised as early as Monday, Nov. 21, with a submission deadline of Friday, Jan. 6. The selectmen agreed that the Swift House will be opened on Wednesday, Nov. 30, for the convenience of any architect wishing to view the site.

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