The Middlesex Middle School gym will finally see much-needed repairs after the RTM unanimously approved funding for the project.

The gym has been in dire need of repairs for a number of years, but the project was deferred due to budget constraints. However, after receiving approval from the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance, the RTM decided it was time to act.

Lois Schneider, District I RTM member and chairman of the Education Committee, said the committee backed the plan 10-0. The project is expected to cost about $314,000. The RTM approved $277,000 and the remaining $37,000 would come from money that wasn't spent on other capital projects. Repairs would be made to the gym floor, the bleachers, backboards and a curtain would replace the dividing doors currently in place.

Schneider said the decision to repair the gym was always put off another year because of financial reasons but condition had deteriorated to the point where the project couldn't be delayed any longer. Even though the RTM hasn't voted on the school budget for 2011-2012 the project would be treated as a capital expense, Schneider said.

District V member Bruce Orr said the gym's issues had to be addressed because it was becoming a safety issue.

Board of Education Chairman Kim Westcott told RTM members gym repairs had been a Level 1 priority project for three years but other projects needed to be addressed first.

"When we have a project that is more long term we go before the RTM to get approval earlier," Westcott said. "We're very pleased that the RTM approved the money."

The next step is to put the work out to bid and begin ordering the necessary supplies, Westcott said. The initial timeline is to begin work as soon as school ends and be complete the project by the middle of August.

"We need to make sure we get the project out to bid and order the materials by the end of April or early May or the work wouldn't be able to be completed in time," Westcott said.

The money was approved 71-0.