FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s proposed expansion of Riverfield School will cost $15 million, according to the latest estimates.
The town plans to add space to Riverfield to get rid of the portable classrooms that have been on the Mill Plain Road campus since 1995 and to account for expected rises in enrollment over the next few years. The project would also expand the bus loop and parent drop-off areas, make the school’s bathrooms handicap-accessible and add fire sprinklers and new alarms.
The Riverfield School Building Committee’s idea is to build a two-story, 16-classroom addition in place of the current annex wing. Existing classrooms would also be converted into specialized rooms for special education, individual subjects and an expanded health center. The school’s gymnasium and all-purpose room would also become bigger.
The project’s original estimate called for less than $11 million when the building committee was formed last February. The reason for the difference is that the current plan includes renovations for specialized rooms, which were not included in the original estimates, committee Chairman Tom Quinn said.
“That ballpark estimate was done well before the educational specs were on the table, and that made a big difference in the bottom line,” Quinn said.
The original estimates accounted for an 11,000-square-foot addition and about 5,000 square feet of renovations. The plan presented Wednesday to the Board of Selectmen would add more than 32,000 square feet and renovate another 34,000 square feet.
The architect’s original estimate was for more than $17 million, Quinn also said, but his committee ordered changes to bring the figure down.
“I went to the committee and asked them to agree that $15 million was a number that we all could live with, and we sent back the architects and our program manager to come back with that number,” he said.
The Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting are scheduled to vote next month on whether to go forward with the renovations. If the town government approves the plan, construction would start in the summer of 2014. The new wing would be scheduled to open in September 2015.