RTM approves $2.6M in school capital projects
FAIRFIELD — The Representative Town Meeting approved $2.6 million for projects meant to improve air conditioning and other infrastructural deficiencies across Fairfield schools.
The seven capital projects include a full replacement of items like the HVAC controls at Dwight Elementary, flooring at Tomlinson Middle School and six tennis courts at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
The town is spreading the cost in three separate bond amounts of five-year incrementals — a 10-year bond for $581,755, a 15-year bond for $915,000 and a 20-year bond for $1.2 million.
Districtwide projects include network security upgrades. Slightly more than half a million dollars are allocated toward the second-phase upgrade of what is an “antiquated” system that could become vulnerable and a high security risk if no action is taken, according to a budget presentation at the Feb. 25 meeting.
There was little to no deliberation on the three proposed bonds, which were unanimously approved by RTM members in a matter of minutes.
About $350,000 was also granted for school security, namely “intrusion panels for interior building systems to our school facilities.”
Superintendent Toni Jones said this was part of mutual cooperation with Fairfield police in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
“We’re only doing what the police tell us is absolutely necessary for school safety,” Jones said at the Feb. 12 Board of Finance meeting.
At previous Board of Education meetings, parents had voiced concerns about heating and air conditioning at certain schools. A board discussion about specific issues at several schools scheduled for Feb. 20 was canceled due to inclement weather.
The replacement of the Dwight Elementary HVAC controls would be a “good test model to see how the design goes” according to Executive Director of Operations Tom Cullen.
The $2.6 million in school projects were previously approved by the Board of Selectmen in January and by the Board of Finance in mid-February.