Public to get say on school projects

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

Residents will soon weigh-in about the proposed capital improvement projects at Wheeler Elementary School and Plainville High School.

During a recent meeting, the Town Council set a public hearing on Monday, April 24, at 7 p.m. for both school renovation projects, which the Capital Projects Building Committee recommended town officials to move forward with. The public hearing will take place at Wheeler School’s gymnasium, where people also will have a chance to tour the school building at 6 p.m.

Earlier that day at 11 a.m., Plainville Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maureen Brummett will host a “Coffee, Cannoli & Conversation” program about the Wheeler School project at the Plainville Senior Center. Both Brummett and Wheeler School Principal Andrew Batchhelder will give an overview of the proposed project and answer questions from the public.

The proposed “renovate as new” project at Wheeler, which has an estimated cost of $23.5 million, involves bringing the school building up to current codes. Among the improvements include a roof replacement, air conditioning throughout the entire building and a connector between the two wings of the school. Improvements also will be made outside the building, such as the creation of a new main entrance on the side of the school adjacent to the parking lot.

Built in the 1950s, Wheeler School has not undergone any additions since 1994. If voters approve the Wheeler School project at referendum before June 30, the town would be eligible for state reimbursement. The town is expected to receive 51.15 percent back on the total cost of the project.

During the meeting, Plainville resident John Kisluk said the Wheeler project is “at least $5 million more than is necessary” by pursuing a “renovate as new” status.

The site work at the high school, which has an estimated cost of $1.75 million, is not eligible for state reimbursement.

Timothy Cancelli, a Plainville High School student, also addressed the council about the proposed site improvements, which include repaving the park