From school cameras to pond dredging: Selectmen OK $5M in capital projects
Updated 6:34 pm, Thursday, January 28, 2016
Nearly $5 million worth of capital projects won approval Wednesday from the Board of Selectmen.
The selectmen this year trimmed nothing from the list of proposed nonrecurring capital projects for both the town and school district. The bonding requests must also be approved by the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting.
The Board of Education is seeking $3.1 million for its projects, which includes $1.3 million for a security camera system to be installed throughout town schools.
“This is phase two,” Superintendent of Schools David Title said, regarding the security projects. Last year, the Board of Education asked for $3.5 million for security upgrades, but since not all of the work could be done in one year, town boards decided to divide the funding over two years. This year’s security request also includes $668,015 for infrastructure.
Other school board requests include $200,000 to renovate the IT server room, $100,000 for a playground retaining wall and stairs at Dwight School; $620,000 to replace two boilers at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, and $230,000 for a low-voltage electrical project.
Selectman Chris Tymniak asked if the capital projects were unanimously approved by the Board of Education, and Title said they were.
The $1.8 million in town-side capital requests is to be allocated as follows: $120,000 for a generator at Fairfield Woods Branch Library; $250,000 for dredging Gould Manor Park’s pond; $230,000 for a six-wheel dump truck; $100,000 to renovate the fields at Sherman School; $100,000 for golf course renovations; $125,000 for IT “cluster” replacements, and $900,000 for a new fire pumper.
Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo said there is no permanent generator for the branch library, which holds the backup server for the town’s computer system. Now, he said, “If it’s going to be more than an hour, we’re forced to get a portable generator.” That is not, Michelangelo said, the best scenario.
Tymniak asked if there was a generator at Fairfield Woods Middle School next door that the branch library could link with. School officials said there is a generator at the middle school designed to run safety functions, such as fire sprinklers, during an outage. But it cannot be tied to the library, they said.
“Just having a generator is not enough,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said, but its capacity also has to be taken into account.
The Gould Manor project is a collaboration between the Public Works and Conservation departments, Michelangelo said. The man-made pond needs to be dredged to improve its water quality, as well as aesthetics, he said.
“This has been contemplated many times over the years,” Michelangelo said. Dredging will also increase the pond’s capacity for storm-water detention.
Tymniak asked if $250,000 would be enough for the Gould Manor project, and said he’s concerned the project might uncover contaminated soil, bumping up disposal costs. As an example, he cited the contaminated soil found at the site of the Fairfield Metro train station, which delayed its completion and increased costs.
“That’s environmentally challenged land,” Tymniak said. “I’m worried, and I hope the town is prepared.”
Michelangelo said tests at the pond will be done at the outset, so any environmental issues would be known before the project proceeds.
Tetreau said it is unlikely there is contaminated soil at Gould Manor, since the pond is in a residential area. “This has been residential going back as far as I can remember,” he said, and nearby industrial development was confined to the other side of Interstate 95.
At Sherman School, the town wants to install an irrigation system for the softball and soccer fields, which are heavily used for Parks and Recreation Department programs. Adding the irrigation, Michelangelo said, will negate the regular need to resod the fields.
The pumper at the Congress Street fire station has been taken out of service, McCarthy said, because of significant corrosion caused by winter road treatments. He said fire officials are investigating ways to prevent future corrosion and are working with the manufacturer to see if there is a way to fix that pumper so it can be used as a back-up. The new truck will operate as a pumper, but will have an aerial device for rescue and roof acccess.