Repairs at Ludlowe, Warde draw RTM scrutiny
The Town Facilities Commission wants $75,000 to hire professionals to tell them the best way to fix leaking windows at Fairfield Ludlowe High School and roofs nearing the end of their lifespan at Fairfield Warde High School.
But Representative Town Meeting members wanted to know how that money would be spent, and while the legislative body ultimately approved the expenditures earlier this week, they didn't do so enthusiastically.
Time and again, RTM members cited what they said was a lack of detail about how the requested $40,000 for Fairfield Ludlowe and $35,000 for Fairfield Warde would be spent. The resolution for both allocation requests stated: "for expenses related to consultant tests, studies and analysis" of the roof and window conditions. Other RTM members questioned whether some of the work -- particularly the windows -- isn't actually maintenance work that shouldn't be bonded.
Both resolutions called for transfers from the contingency account, but First Selectman Kenneth Flatto said that if the analysis leads to a larger project, the initial expenses could be included in a larger bonding package. He also said if caulking some of the windows at FLHS extends their life, it could be included in the bonding as well.
According to TFC Chairman Al Kelly, if all of Fairfield Ludlowe's 900-plus windows were replaced it would cost about $3 million, though the plan is not to replace them all. "The biggest fear we have is in the caulking," Kelly said, because of the possible presence of PCBs in the caulking materials.
Peter Ambrose, R-2, said that works out to about $3,200 per window. "It seems like a huge amount of money," he said. "Is that a realistic figure?"
Kelly assured him it was. He also said the going rate for a consultant to look at the windows is about $42 a room, and that includes sketches, specs and any needed documentation. "We thought we were being fairly conservative," Kelly said.
"They're coming up with numbers that don't make sense," said Arthur Hug, R-4. "The process appears to be flawed."
Flatto said windows at Fairfield Ludlowe, some of which were installed in 1949, have been a problem for years. "These items have been percolating and on the list for years," he said. "We want to analyze which can be fixed and which need to replaced. I think it will save us money in the long run."
Kelly said that by bringing in a consultant officials hope to save at least half of the $3 million estimated cost.
The request for the $40,000 for the windows passed 28-to-10, while the $35,000 for the Warde roof passed with two "no" votes by Hug and Kathryn Braun, R-8.