A parking lot surface and a school gym floor that have each begun to heave up are two of the projects suggested for New Canaan Public Schools in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Altogether, 20 projects with a cost of more than $2 million in the upcoming fiscal year were included in the school district's annual Long-Term Capital Facilities Plan.
A total of $1.52 million of the spending is for an energy-efficiency plan. Three of the projects have cost estimates yet to be determined, and will raise the total cost higher.
The plan "prioritizes and projects the capital improvement neds over a 10-year period," according to the Executive Summary on page 2 of the 24-page document handed out at last week's Board of Education meeting.
The document, dated Nov. 19 and presented to the board by Bob Willoughby, facilities manager for the school system, didn't offer any priorities and was offered to the Board of Education more as a list of suggestions, Schools Superintendent Mary Monroe Kolek told the board.
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"None of this is a recommendation," Kolek told the board. "It's for you to be taking a look at [...] as we move into planning for the rest of the year."
Here's a rundown of the 20 projects in the report. Unless attributed otherwise, all quotations below are from the report:
Energy efficiency projects
These three projects to save on utility costs are also proposed:
(1) Ventilation rooftop unit at Saxe Middle School: $28,000
(2) "Demand Meter and Demand Shedding Program" at New Canaan High School: $20,000. "It will probably pay for itself in six months," Willoughby told the board. If the school district gets a reimbursement from Connecticut Light & Power, the project could almost pay for itself in two months, he said. After that, the district would continue to save money.
(3) "Energy LOA Phase III" district-wide energy efficiency plan—the most expensive of all the 20 projects, costing $1.52 million and made up of these five components:
- Replace chiller (air conditioning) at the South and possibly West elementary schools
- Replace roof-top ventilation units at South and West schools
- Replace hot-water boilers at East, South and West elementary schools ad Saxe Middle School
- Install indoor lighting and security devices in buildings across the district
Just recently the school district received $468,000 from Connecticut Light & Power to offset previous expenses of $1.75 million, Willoughby told the board. For some projects, CL&P will reimburse the school district as much as 50 percent of the cost, he said, although he added that it's important to be one of the earlier school districts to complete a project and get in line for the next reimbursements, because once the utility will send out reimbursements on particular types of projects on a first-come, first-served basis until it runs out of money.
Large building projects
These three expensive projects are also in the plan:
- Window caulking project design for East, South and West elementary schools: $150,000 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year (the total, multi-year project is estimated to cost $1.2 million): "The preliminary review of the window and caulk project identified a very large scope of work. We are requesting 150K for a comprehensive review by a hygienist, architect and to hire an owner's representative to monitor the entire process." The problem is worst at South School, less bad at East and West schools, Willoughby said.
- Design for auditorium renovation at Saxe Middle School: $170,000 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year (the total, multi-year project is estimated to cost from $1.5 million to $2.5 million). "We propose to hire a designer/architect to produce drawings and specifications fo rthe total renovation of the auditorium."
- Renovate the Farm Road Parking Lot for South School: $300,000. "The parking lot has begun to crack and heave. The broken curbing is a safety issue. The asphalt surface shows extreme wear and cracking. These issues pose potential safety issues. This item was not funded in the 2012-2013 Capital Budget."
High School Marine Biology Lab
The Marine Biology Laboratory in New Canaan High School has more than one problem, according to Willoughby: $20,000.
The electrical sockets installed along the walls in the original construction are protected by ground fault circuits, but since the sockets are lower than the water in the fish tanks, they "get splashed with water and are extremely rusted. [...] We have currently hired an electrician to replace and mount new plug mold 12 inches above the top of the tallest tank. We propose to redesign and install new counter tops to prevent water from dripping on the floor. In addition, there is not a proper system for adding or removing water from the tanks."
Water leaking down from the Marine Biology Lab has "already damaged a couple of smart boards downstairs in another instructional space," Willoughby said.
Another project for the lab would be to install an emergency generator so that if electricity is lost, the room won't lose sea creatures, Willoughby said.
"They lost an awful lot of material—fish, lobsters," when Superstorm Sandy hit, he said. An emergency generator also might be used for refrigerators in the family and consumer science area of the high school.
- Crack-seal asphalt in parking lots (districtwide): $75,000: Seal cracks to slow deterioration of the parking lots.
- Renovate the storage garage at South School: $60,000: "The entire district is in dire need of storage. At South School in particular there is no room for snow removal equipment. Snow blowers cannot be housed in the building."
- Repair and refinish the floor of the smaller gym at Saxe Middle School: $30,000: "The perimeter of the wood floor, especially at the thresholds, has previously been damaged by a roof leak in the Fall of 2011 on both sides of the gym. We propose to remove and replace all of the damaged and heaved sextions of flooring, then sand, re-line and refinish the entire gym."
- Extend chimneys at East School: $30,000: "Extend the chimneys and build an enclosure for operational performance and safety. The close proximity to the clasroom window and air intakes may cause boiler exhaust to be brought into the building."
- Replace the entire public address system and clocks at East and West elementary schools: $30,000: "The continuing problems with the PA [public address] system and clocks is a continuous maintenance and safety issue. The parts for the existing system are discontinued."
- Install a proximity card access system for New Canaan High School: $20,000. The rest of the town's schools already have them installed. Adults would need cards to enter certain areas of the school.
- Replace vertical blinds with room-darkening shades at East, South and West schools: $15,000. Willoughby told the board that the district has been replacing the shades in 10 classrooms a year at the elementary schools.
- Hire a consultant to examine the roofs at East, South, West elementary schools: $12,000
- Install an exhaust fan for the chiller (air conditioning unit) room at New Canaan High School: $12,000: "The chiller room (air conditioning) does not have adequate exhaust. The chillers run extremely hot since they are air cooled. [...] The new exhaust fan will dramatically reduce the temperature in the room." If the chillers are destroyed because of the excessive heat in the room, it will be much more expensive to replace them, Willoughby said.
- Repair vinyl partition in the smaller gymnasium at Saxe Middle School: $10,000
No cost estimates yet
In addition to the other projects, these three projects don't yet have cost estimates:
- Recondition elevators in Saxe: "Currently working with vendor to review and submit proposal for needed upgrade."
- Registrar's Office at New Canaan High School: "This is a proposal to create a central Registrar's Office at the high school for all new students."
- Building condition survey throughout the district: "Currently reviewing cost to have an architect to review all buildings for information to support future capital projects." Willoughby said he guessed the cost would be $20,000 for all five of the district's school buildings.