School Funding

More funds requested for repairs to North Mianus School, as Greenwich considers alternative site for fall


GREENWICH – The Board of Education will return to the Board of Estimate and Taxation with a second request for interim credit to pay for repairs to North Mianus School – this one for just over $ 2.5 million.

A collapsed ceiling in a classroom at North Mianus school broke a garden hose and flooded the building in February, causing extensive damage and closing part of the school for the rest of the year. Parts of the school are usable, but many students in North Mianus have been displaced since the incident. Arrangements to keep some students in other school buildings will likely be needed in the fall, as the school board scrambles to revive repairs to the school.

A first request from the school board for $ 8.1 million was partially granted by the BET in April. Citing the need for a clearer estimate, the BET approved an allocation of $ 2.1 million in a vote that divided the board along party lines. It also sparked protests from some school board members and parents in North Mianus, who said lack of funding could delay repairs.

Now the Board of Education is asking for more funds after making an offer and solidifying the design plans for the repairs. Initial demand – which district COO Sean O’Keefe said included a large amount of contingency funds – has declined significantly. The project is now expected to cost the district just under $ 4.7 million.

“It’s a great result,” said O’Keefe. “Remember when we called the $ 8.1 (million) we said there was a lot of contingency and a very high level estimate for prevention work. So we knew we knew it was going to fall apart.

The school board unanimously approved the request, which will need to be approved by both the BET and the representative city meeting in the coming weeks.

Another location

Superintendent of Schools Toni Jones acknowledged at Thursday night’s school board meeting that the district was negotiating a preliminary contract for an alternate location for North Mianus students this fall. But Jones provided little additional information when pressed by council members. A board member, Peter Sherr, expressed concern about the board’s lack of information.

“Is the space already equipped as a school?” Sherr asked.

“What I can say is that it would be a great site for us to have as an alternative site,” Jones said.

“I don’t know what that means,” Sherr replied.

Jones said she hoped more information would be available in “the next few weeks,” and O’Keefe told council the district anticipates it will need another location between August and December, although the schedule is provisional.

In addition to questions about funding the repair project, a nationwide shortage of building materials could further complicate the process. With the supply shortage and the neighborhood’s aggressive schedule, only one architect bid on the project, according to O’Keefe.

The district estimates that the rent for the alternative site would be around $ 170,000 per month, or $ 850,000 until the end of the calendar year. The estimate is incorporated into the council’s interim request of $ 2.5 million. The site, Jones said, is centrally located.

“It’s a site that’s a reasonable distance away,” she said. “It was another key element. We have heard from several parents who have taken children to the Parkway, and it is very helpful for the children to take the bus. So we’ve been very aware that it’s, you know, it’s close.

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