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$4.2M OK'd for Osborn Hill renovation, PCB cleanup

Published 8:45 am, Thursday, January 31, 2013

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  • Bonding for PCB remediation at Osborn Hill School has been approved by the Representative Town Meeting. Photo: Genevieve Reilly / Fairfield Citizen
    Bonding for PCB remediation at Osborn Hill School has been approved by the Representative Town Meeting. Photo: Genevieve Reilly

 

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The Representative Town Meeting has approved a $4.19 million bond authorization for the remediation of PCBs at Osborn Hill School, but none of the legislative body's discussion this week centered on the suspected carcinogen.

Instead, RTM members on Monday raised questions about the enclosed walkway from the main building to the annex that has been included as a component of the remediation project.

"When we put the annex in, we decided not to connect it to the building," said Minority Leader Hal Schwartz, D-7, because it could trigger further code upgrades. "How is this going to affect that? How do we guarantee what we put up won't trigger core renovations which are going to cost additional funds."

Architect William Silver said officials do not expect the glass-enclosed walkway to have any impact, but he added that as the project begins, there will be meetings with building and fire officials.

Thomas Cullen, director of operations for the school district, said the enclosed walkway is not looked at "in a different way" since it is not part of the annex project.

Another RTM member, Ann Stamler, D-5, asked if the enclosure would do more than protect students and staff from the weather. "Will it protect people walking inside from people outside with a weapon?" she said.

Silver said the glass will not be ballistic-grade glazing, which he said would make the project 10 to 15 times more expensive. "That was not the goal of this study," he said. "It will provide physical security and the doors are intended to be locked."

Superintendent of Schools David Title assured the legislative body that if the walkway enclosure substantially increases the total cost of the remediation project, "it won't happen."

The walkway is expected to cost about $70,000. The biggest price tag in the project is $700,000 to renovate the existing gym, which has been rendered unusable because of airborne PCB contamination. A portable classroom has been rented to serve as a gym for the school.

Other costs include $650,000 to install new windows at the elementary school. It was during the required testing of caulking for existing windows last summer that the elevated PCB levels were discovered.

Also included in the bonding is $820,000 in costs incurred during the cleanup and testing of the school, and rental of the temporary gym.

greilly@ctpost.com; 203-556-2771; http://twitter.com/GreillyPost