More money for Osborn Hill renovations backed by finance panel
Updated 1:00 pm, Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Additional money for renovation work at Osborn Hill School was approved by the Board of Finance last week in a 7-2 vote, but some board members wondered what happened to money to build a covered walkway that they felt had been funded in the project's original bonding.
The finance board approved another $340,633 for the $4.2 million project at the Stillson Road elementary school approved in January 2013 to replace windows and doors, and the remediation of PCBs found in the school. Because of the PCB contamination, the gymnasium has to be completely renovated.
The original bonding resolution also referenced enclosing a walkway between the school and a classroom annex. The building committee had included that feature as an alternate in the bid package, for an estimated $70,000, but without enough money to do the work, recently asked for $471,534 for the walkway. The Board of Selectmen, however, cut the walkway money with the understanding the walkway, or something similar, will be part of the school district's $3.2 million infrastructure upgrades to enhance security at the town schools.
The walkway was added into the original bonding resolution by the Representative Town Meeting, after it had already passed the selectmen and finance boards, when the legislative body approved the bonding in 2013.
"When you sit on a board, you don't know what may or may not tip someone in a meeting for a project," finance board Chairman Thomas Flynn said. "I don't know if the committee had the right to make it an add alternate."
First Selectman Michael Tetreau disagreed. "I do believe they have the right," and he said if the $3.2 million in security funding is approved by the Board of Finance and the RTM, the walkway work will be done.
"We had a very specific discussion about that enclosure," finance member Mary LeClerc said. "The RTM added the wording in." Flynn said not including the walkway in the project changes its scope.
"The bonding resolution is the guiding document and the building committee needs to spend the money according to the bond resolution," Fiscal Officer Robert Mayer said. "When they have less funds than necessary, they have the authority to make adjustments, or come back and ask for more."
The $340,633 in funding is needed primarily because of additional environmental testing, and the need for the gym ceiling to be replaced.
Voting against the request for more money were LeClerc and Robert Stone.