The committee that hopes to renovate Pawcatuck’s elementary school will have to wait until next month to hear if they can hire architects to start drawing up the plans. The Board of Finance voted to table the request for $50,000 until after they’ve considered the full proposal that was presented during Wednesday’s meeting.
K-12 Building Committee members provided pages of problems in Pawcatuck's three elementary schools, including space, security and equipment inadequacies. For example, they said that some classes are held under stairwells, there’s no room for teacher-parent and/or specialist meetings, main entries should be reconfigured for better security, fencing needs to be repaired and much more.
“It's not an issue of a growing student base, it's a matter of putting the schools in a condition that serves the students’ needs,” said K-12 Building Committee member Paul Sartor.
The preliminary proposal is "a good sized expansion" of West Vine Street School and ultimately to consolidate the elementary schools in Pawcatuck into West Vine Street School.
According to committee members, early estimates of the proposed renovations and expansions to Deans Mill and West Vine Street Schools could be around $40 million and state reimbursements could be around 22 to 32 percent. An architect could provide more precise cost estimates and reimbursement expectations.
"It's money well spent," said Sartor. "It's a lot of money but we want to do it right.
If approved by the finance board, the proposal goes to the voters, and if approved by voters, the proposal will have to be submitted to the state by June 30. The state considers the proposal and funding for about a year and the town would have two years to get the projects under contract.
Finance Director Maryanna Stevens said the town would borrow small chunks of money at a time as the phased project advances.
Committee members supposed that there would be a three year window from the application submission and breaking ground.
Without having much certainty of costs but being very certain of the need, Sartor said, “we think it's a good time to take the next step.”
According to the town's website, the next Board of Finance meeting is scheduled for Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Police Station.