Selectmen sign off on new capital funding requests for Fairfield schools
Published 8:20 pm, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The selectmen had asked the Town Facilities Commission to do additional research on plans to replace oil tanks at Holland Hill School; fix the roof at McKinley School, and repair the facade at Tomlinson Middle School.
On Tuesday, the selectmen cut the funding request for the tanks from $125,000 to $100,000, in part because it was decided that a smaller tank would be purchased to replace the 10,000-gallon tank being removed. The school has dual fuel capabilities and because the price of natural gas is lower than heating oil, has used the heating oil only on rare occasions.
Town Facilities Commission Chairman Al Kelly, however, said the existing tank has to come out. "It's 27 years old," he said. "We can't just monitor it."
A total of $50,000 was approved for work on the roof at McKinley. Kelly said the town needs to hire an expert to determine where water is entering the roof. "They can't seem to nail it down," he said, "and we need to find out where the leaks are coming from."
"It's imperative we get this fixed," First Selectman Kenneth Flatto said. "The risk of not doing this is much worse than the risk of doing it."
The school building that preceded this McKinley School was torn down after leaks in the roof caused a mold infestation that could not be eradicated.
"We cannot have another mold issue at McKinley Elementary," Selectman James Walsh said.
The selectmen at first appeared reluctant to approve the $250,000 for repairs and lead paint removal for portions of the facade at Tomlinson Middle School. "I don't remember the building committee focusing on this as an issue," Flatto said, adding that he was not inclined to support the expenditure this year. "It's not a safety issue. Obviously repairs weren't done. We should try to go through the ones we need to do first."
Kelly said there are areas on the facade where the lead paint can be encapsulated, but other spots where the lead will have to be removed and the cost for that has not been determined. There are parts of the school's wooden facade that are rotting, and the proposed work would include replacing two doors.
"I'm afraid we're kicking too many of these capital projects down the road," Walsh said.
Ultimately, the Tomlinson project received the selectmen's unanimous approval.