Steve Jones has seen it happen too many times to count. A kid at Jennings Elementary School, where Steve works as a custodian, sits on a sink, or leans too heavily, and it falls off its brackets onto the floor. And that was just one of the problems with the school’s bathrooms that Jones, Director of Operations Thomas Cullen and Manager of Construction Sal Morabito demonstrated Thursday.
“They’ve fallen at least 10 times,” Steve said of the four sinks in just one bathroom at Jennings. “These have all been on the ground.”
The plumbing has not been replaced since the school was built in 1967. Some toilets don't flush properly. Air circulation is far worse than modern standards. And most bathrooms are not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. But mostly, wear and tear of 43 years have taken its toll.
“They take a lot of abuse,” Cullen said. “You’ve got to picture 500 kids using them every day.”
Cullen and Morabito are pitching a $250,000 renovation to Jennings’ bathrooms to the town boards. The update would replace the old plumbing with new PVC piping, install new fixtures and put new tile on the floors and walls. The project would also put in a new ventilation system to increase airflow and make more bathrooms handicapped accessible.
Jennings was the first stop of a series of tours over the next week by Cullen and Morabito to show town officials and the public the need for the proposed renovations. On Friday, they will be at Roger Ludlowe Middle School for an exterior siding project and Tomlinson Middle School to show problems with the front facade.
They will be at the Early Childhood Center at Fairfield Warde High School to explain plans for a new playground there on Monday morning. And that afternoon, they will offer a tour of Mill Hill to go over the proposed changes to the ceilings.
Steve said he hoped the tour of Jennings persuaded a few people to approve the project. “All it takes is one or two parents to get on the bandwagon, to change the whole world,” he said.
What other renovation projects would you like to see done in Fairfield’s schools? Voice your opinions in the comments below.