John Convertito breathed a little easier after Thursday night's Board of Selectmen meeting, because his kids at Roger Sherman School should be able to do the same next year. Architect Craig Wiles explained his plan for the elementary school's renovations to the Fairfield officials. And the selectmen unanimously approved $2.2 million for the project.
Upgrades include a new ventilation system throughout the classrooms and offices, which will flow fresh air into the school and bring Sherman up to clean air standards . The project will also add space to the front of the building, adding classrooms, providing more space for the nurse's office and giving the Special Education department its own designated area.
"Right now, [special ed] is in a full-size classroom, so there's not a lot of privacy there," John said. "And hopefully, that will free up a full-size classroom, which, according to the enrollment numbers , we'll be needing by next fall."
The Board of Education had hoped for a project priced at $4 million. That expansion would have also included two additional classrooms, a new stage in the gymnasium, and new ventilation in the cafeteria and gymnasium.
But because Sherman sits on a flood plain, under new rules of the Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations, any project costing more than $1.9 million must add in flood protection. By setting aside $267,000 for "soft costs" such as furniture, architectural fees and insurance, Fairfield will stay under that limit for this project. The other plans will have to wait a few years unless this construction goes under budget.
If the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting agree with the Board of Selectmen's decision, the renovations to Sherman will start after school lets out in June. Special Projects Standing Building Committee vice chair Al Kelly said he hoped work is completed by the time school resumes in September. If not, the remaining work will be separated from the children safely.
"That's what they're doing now at Stratfield ," Kelly said.
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