A better school for our children

This blog is for parents who agree that our school building needs to be updated more than just a new roof and new boiler. We want better for our kids. We want the very old parts of our building redone. If you want to find out more, visit us often!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Last post before the Last Building Committee Meeting

At least I THINK this is the last building committee meeting.  You can never really tell.

Anyway - a group of parents and I went to the Board of Education meeting last week.  I wanted to post what we heard earlier, but I could not find my notes.  But better late than never!

So at the BOE, the building committee and architect did a fast presentation of their proposal.  It still took about 45 minutes, but that was still quick.

Elbert Burr was the person who introduced the architect.  He talked about the charge he had from the selectman.  The building committee selected 8 key items from their original list of many many more than that.  (33).

So - we saw the same presentation we saw from the architect in August.  As some of you know, the building committee had a meeting on September 8th that was not posted so none of us knew about it.

And just so you know - the next meeting is September 23rd - at 6:30 - at the school.  It apparently isn't posted on the Town sight either.

Some of the talking points that the architect mentioned that he didn't mention in August, I will mention here.

1 - Roof - they need to replace to become thermal and possibly replace some siding and get rid of a non-functioning chimney.  Ice on the roof indicates heat loss.  There is minimal insulation in all roof areas except the 1994 side.

2- Plumbing - accessibility a problem.  There is lead solder in piping.  Sprinkler systems in the building will be state mandated in ALL buildings in near future.

3 - Direct/indirect lighting - want to go that way - more light reflects off the ceiling.  T-8 lights are in and they are very efficient

4 - COST.  This was what we were ALL waiting for.  Now - these numbers are rough, but close.  The slide presentation went very quickly, and I am hoping to get a copy of these numbers at the building committee meeting on Wed.

So here are the breakdowns:

Roof - 2 million.  52% reimbursement from the state
Exterior wall that is crumbling - $133,170 - 0% reimbursement from the state.
Windows - $435,528 with a 35% reimbursement from the state
Doors - $128,340 - 0% reimbursement (although I think these are ADA changes, so don't quote me on the 0%)

Ceiling - $585,129
ADA - $91,000 in work
Boiler $430,000 with a 35% reimbursement from the state
Plumbing - $717,000 with a 10% reimbursement from the state
Fire protection - $686,000 with a 35% reimbursement from the state (I don't have what the specifics are)
Mechanical - 2 million with a 35% reimbursement from the state
Electrical - 1.3 million with a 35% reimbursement from the state
Technology - $553,000 with a 35% reimbursement from the state
Lighting $530,000 with 0% reimbursement from the state.  If they add LED lighting, add $142,000 to cost
Special Systems - $260,000 (fire alarms, ADA devices

TOTAL:  $10 million with a reimbursement of 2.8 million from the state (from what we could tell).

So - roof and boiler - around 2.2 million
Windows and electrical - 3.5 million
Remainder - 5 million


So what do you guys think of these numbers?  Now, if you remember the first plan.  WAY back when.  It was a really nice renovate as new plan.  It was going to cost 15 million with a reimbursement between 35%-49% (just like above).  So - worked out at the most to be around 8+million.

How in the WORLD did we end up with a more expensive plan with LESS getting fixed?  How does that happen?  My guess is - a lot of time has passed.  And prices have gone up.  The biggest???  We are NOT renovating as new.  From what we understand, that would have brought us the best reimbursement and the best outcome.

But what we have here, is a proposal for a 10 million plan for 8 items.  Important things?  Of course.  All that needs to be done?  Not by a long shot.

And what is worse? (at least in my opinion)  They want to do this project in phases.  Phase one next summer with the roof and boiler.  They want to do the referendum in pieces as well.  Charge the town for just that work.  Then in another year or two, come BACK to the table, VOTE again, and do the next phase.

Okay - sidebar.  Raise your hand if you think once the roof is on that we are going to have a VERY hard time convincing tax payers to replace some walls and windows?  And possibly redo some air vents?  Uh - my guess is we are going to have a VERY small chance of getting that done.  Very small.

No one wants their taxes to go up.  But right now, our property values are down.  The only thing that draws people (young families) to our town is the school.  But a school in disrepair - with neighbors in Old Lyme and Ledyard that have brand new schools - isn't going to draw anyone.

When we moved our family here a few years ago - it was because of the wonderful school system.  But if we would have known that Old Lyme was gong to be building new schools, we probably would have moved there instead.  It will be a shame if people come to our town, see our 70 year old school, and move somewhere else because of that.  And they have a LOT of choices.

I could tell that the BOE was not all together happy with the end result of the building committees presentation.  They wanted to know why they didn't consider educational impacts - such as the size of classrooms (which we all know are 50% smaller than they should be according to the state).  And they want the ADA to be considered for quality of construction.

The BOE saw that the infrastructure and safety have been addressed, but not education.  So I will be anxious to see what the building committee comes up with in a few days.

And we parents will be there watching.

I don't want to have to call the ADA.  But I have to do what is best for my family.  And my daughter "F" has needs that may not be addressed in the first phase they are considering.  Once I see what Wednesday brings, I may not have a choice.

Come to the meeting Wednesday.  Hear what they are proposing.  Come give your thoughts - there is a public comment at the end.

I will post what I learn on Wednesday at the meeting!  Keep up to date!