Projects at town schools underway

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Several projects at town schools are in process.

The town council met Monday, July 16, and heard reports from the Board of Education and Town Manager Robert Lee.

Lee said the capital projects building committee met and reviewed 14 trade bid packages for the Wheeler Elementary School renovation project. The bids, including seven alternate options, came in at almost $1.5 million less than the estimated cost of the project. The 14 trade packages, including the recommended alternates total $14,892,121. Lee said it was important to note that the “construction contracts will be between O&G Industries, LLC, and the contractors… as this is a construction manager at risk project.”

The Plainville High School parking lot paving project contractor is currently onsite and some of the work has begun, said Lee, who also said “most of the repaving work is scheduled to be completed by mid-August, weather permitting.” Lee reported that the contractors plan on working a six day schedule, but depending on weather some of the work may carry over to the beginning of the school year.

Regarding the Water Pollution Control Phosphorus Upgrade project, the town received a letter in June from the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which authorized the town to go forward with the contract with Daniel O’Connell Sons Inc., of Holyoke, Mass., in the amount of $11,164,800, said Lee. Lee said the project is slated to begin shortly and that the estimated time of the project is two years.

Lee also reported chief officers with the fire department have requested the council consider amending the fire department ordinance, adopted in 2013, to allow firefighters “between the age of 65 and 72 to drive apparatus and to use that apparatus at an emergency scene.”

“Under the current fire department ordinance adopted in 2013, when a firefighter reaches the age of 65, they must stop any active firefighting role and either retire or shift over to the fire police,” said Lee. “The chief officers pointed out that their recommendation would still prohibit those members over the age of 65 to participate in an active firefighting roles in any other capacity other than the driver’s responsibilities.”

The second item from the fire department was in regards to replacing the utility two vehicles. Lee reported that the fiscal year 2019 capital improvement budget includes a line item of $75,000 to replace this vehicle.

“The fire chief is proposing to purchase a 2019 Chevrolet Suburban from Northeast Hills Automotive of Torrington, utilizing state bid prices in the amount of $44,576.68. Additional purchases to outfit the vehicle would also be required but are not part of this evenings request,” said Lee.

Plainville BOE chairwoman Andrea Saunders, reported the Plainville High School paving project will begin on Aug. 10 and that Superintendent of School Dr. Maureen Brummett will keep the board informed as to the project progress.

Regarding the Wheeler Elementary School renovation project, Saunders reported that the abatement process began on Thursday, July 12, and that Wheeler teachers have been offered the opportunity to “go in there and get their classes ready.”

Saunders also reported the dean of students, Thomas Laudadio, left his position at the Middle School of Plainville, and will be replaced by Melissa Orfitelli, the head teacher and literacy resource teacher at Linden Street School.

“She will… split her time, part of the way at Linden and part of the time at the middle school,” said Saunders. “In her newly formed position, she’s going to assist in the establishment of maintenance of district and school policies and procedures, create, maintain, and promote program development to meet the needs of the student populations, and serve as a resource to teachers and non-certified staff including teacher evaluation and development. So, we’re very excited, she’ll start in the fall.”

Also in this meeting, it was announced that council vice chair Scott Saunders and BOE chairwoman Andrea Saunders would be stepping down from their positions. Scott Saunders is currently serving his fifth term as a council member. Andrea Saunders has been a BOE member for eight years, six of which were spent as the panel’s chair. Their resignations go into effect on Thursday, July 26.

Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.