by Margaret Leonard
NORTH STONINGTON - With only a few months to go before completion, the "renovated as new" elementary school is in "full steam ahead" mode.
While the renovation has preceded well, a surprising setback was the discovery of PCBs in the paint on the building’s main support beams. All the PCB-contaminated paint had to be removed.The cost of the set-back had to be taken from the money set aside in the contingency fund. This was money that had been factored in for situations like this. Unfortunately, the town was optimistic going into the project that everything had been thoroughly vetted and there would be money left to demolish the old middle school wing.
In a joint letter dated August 9, 2017 from then Board of Education chairperson, Robert Carlson and Superintendent Peter Nero, it was explained that while they were currently in compliance with the EPA and DEEP, at any point they could be "placed in a position to remediate the environmental issues sooner rather than later."
For more information on PCBs in North Stonington School System, please visit their PCB information page.
At a recent board of selectmen meeting, a motion was made and carried to create a committee to look at all options for the old middle school wing. The committee is expected to explore all options and present solutions to the board of selectmen. In a recent conversation, first selectman Mike Urgo said he is hoping anyone with concerns as to the future of the former Middle School wing, would join the committee.
The Milltown Monitor has reached out to First Selectman Urgo, as well as the School Modernization Committee chair, Pam Potemri, for a dollar figure in relation to the set-back. In a response from Mr. Urgo, "I don't have the exact figures, but it significantly cut into the contingency." We will continue to track this and update you as soon as we have more information.
In a recent tour of the Elementary School, lead by Downes Project Superintendent Giovanni Berardinelli, we were able to see many of the safety upgrades that have been made.
When you first walk into the building you are greeted by a second set of doors, which lead to the main building. To gain access you will check-in at the window to the main office which you will see to your right.
There are also three staircases, replacing the previous two, for faster evacuation. There is also the ability to shut down part of the school during after-school events.
We are hoping for another tour in the near future to view classroom mock-ups.