Security issues and overcrowding in the cafeteria has pushed Roger Sherman Elementary School to the top of the Board of Education's repairs and improvements list. Now the Board is hoping to have around $2 million in funds approved for the project.
Board member Tim Kery, who has been a vocal advocate of Sherman's needs, told the Board of Selectmen that a security issue he could not speak about publicly and the fact many students do not have enough time to eat due to long lunch lines make the repairs essential. He said that it would be best for the project to begin "sooner rather than later."
The school's overcrowding issue is due to a modular classroom annex added last year. The Fern Street school was built for 357 students, but this year there were 473 enrolled. Many parents and their children attended the selectmen's meeting to show their support.
But the kitchen, cafeteria and gymnasium have not been upgraded to meet the needs of the increased amount of students, according to Kery and other board members who presented at the meeting.
The board members said the school needs a new air conditioning and ventilation system to meet state requirements ($500,000), a stage addition in the gym ($300,000), kitchen and cafeteria upgrades ($230,000), a fire sprinkler system ($180,000, there is currently not one in place) and an expansion to the school's all-purpose room ($180,000).
"The need is here. It's a need for this year," Kery said.
First Selectman Ken Flatto said that his only worry is that the cost will be higher than the proposed $2 million, but he understands the necessity of the renovations.
The Board of Education will meet tomorrow and are expected to vote on a formal proposal for funds for the project and a request for a building committee established by Flatto. Board members told the selectmen that the body is expected to approve the proposals.
Selectman James Walsh recommended that the Special Projects Standing Building Committee, which already has experience with Sherman School through overseeing the annex construction, be put in charge of the repairs and upgrades.
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