Rochester, Vermont

Financial Assessments

PRELIMINARY FINANCIAL ASSESSMENT OF BUILDING UPGRADES
While the decommissioned RHS building holds great potential it also carries significant financial obligation. The Black River Design Facilities and Functional Analysis report completed in Oct 2019, commissioned by the RSUD Board, identified needed capital improvements for all school properties within the RSUD, including projected costs for RHS upgrades of several million dollars, depending on the intended use. That report is available on the Town of Rochester website.

The consulting architect has reviewed the Black River report, toured the building, and advised that the high school building will need capital improvements of at least $2 million to address issues such as boiler replacement and other heating system components, replacement of the electrical panel, ventilation system improvements, among others. The completed feasibility study report will include a list of recommended capital improvements to suit the repurposed building, with updated cost estimates. We anticipate that some of the upgrades could be implemented overtime, as available funding and program needs evolve. Government funding, grants, and philanthropy would be pursued to fund building improvements. Although school district records indicate past heating costs of $50,000 and more for some years, upgrades to the heating system and improvements in building insulation could reduce that cost going forward.

Members of this committee envision a repurposed building as a regional asset for the future, providing opportunities for essential services, economic development, the arts, learning, and social engagement. Alternatively, its demolition was estimated at $770,000 in 2019, and now could be closer to $1 million. To do nothing and let it deteriorate into a major eyesore in our village center is ill advised. Instead, our overall goal is that this legacy building will continue to serve this valley as a productive and highly desirable asset.