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Feb 242014
 

Goldblatt and Carangelo (file photo)

Goldblatt and Carangelo (file photo)

I was hoping to walk away from today’s special meeting of the Board of Selectmen with a complete spreadsheet of tasks and costs to get Peck Place School back up and running, but it may have to wait until sometime after tonight’s Board of Finance meeting (7:30 p.m.)

Nearly $2 million  is being requested to do all the necessary work, including replacing floor and ceiling tiles, insulation, cabinetry, painting, lighting, plumbing etc. and it is not something the members of the Board of Selectmen (BOS), Board of Education (BOE) or later, the Board of Finance (BOF) take lightly.

The BOS has been dealing with this issue for more than a month and the BOE has been on it since Feb. 6, when a water pipe burst and caused damage – some major – to 12 rooms at the elementary school.

Everything moved quickly from that day forward, the children were immediately split up and placed in the two other elementary schools so their learning process would not be interrupted. Then they were moved to the YALE Campus off of Marsh Hill Road, and to their credit the teachers and children adjusted to their new situations flawlessly. Most of the kids even enjoyed the adventure.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli commended the BOS for doing their due diligence and bringing their thoughts and suggestions to the table.

In a nutshell, ALL of the numbers and specifics did not come out as many of Orange Live’s readers had hoped, but I can give you the answers to some questions that you’ve asked.

Insurance will cover just the Phase 1 where damage occurred

BOE Business Director Kevin McNabola said the amount is in the six figures, but it will not ALL be covered (This could mean $100,000 to $900,000) the exact amount of reimbursement is unknown.

Air Quality – there have been 153 air quality tests done and 34 of those were specifically  for mold.

Why so expensive – The cost to build a new school would be about $300 per square foot. The refurbishing of the existing Peck Place School averages $32 per square foot.

Why not put jobs out for bid – Selectman Mitch Goldblatt said in no uncertain terms that he did not feel it was fair that one general contractor who helped the school out when it was in peril, is getting the lions share of the work. He insisted that some of the work, such as painting, should be bid out to try to find a lower cost.

Zeoli said The BOE acknowledged there are things, like cabinetry, that can be bid out, but the process has to move forward in a continuous flow so it will be done in time.

After much discussion, Selectman John Carangelo said these are extenuating circumstances so he had to disagree with Goldblatt, and that if the BOE could bid out for some work, that would be good.

Selectman Ken Lenz said he didn’t want to delay school because they put jobs out to bid to save 5% on the cost (ballpark figure).

Timeline – Selectman Ralph Okenquist said he would like to see a specific timeline showing a schedule of all the work, including overlaps in certain projects, not to exceed the total recommended cost. He said there are only 4 months and 3 weeks left before the students would need to return to the school and if there is no schedule, they would be looking at problems.

Difference in the two Phases — 

   Phase 1 is the area affected by the water — asbestos abatement has been done.

Phase 2 is all the other rooms, store rooms, etc.

Lighting — There is an estimated $20,000 difference between getting new lights and revamping the rooms. The UI offers incentives and these could possibly save the town up to 50% on costs.

Penalties — Carangelo said there should be some sort of clause included in the contract paperwork finning the vendors if the work is not completed on time.

The BOS voted to recommend the projects to the BOF so work on Peck Place can commence with the exception of cabinetry and univentilators, which will go out to bid.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the BOF meets at Town Hall.

The Board will review and decide if they will approve it.

If they do, the money would come out of general fund so the BOE can move forward with the work.

Then the BOF can decide the wisest way to fund the project (bonding, etc.)

  4 Responses to “In A Nutshell: Here’s What Happened At Today’s Special Selectmen’s Meeting”

  1. I agree 100% with Mitch Goldblatt in refrance to sending the work out to bid ! 5% is alot of money and I as a Orange Tax Payer cannot afford anymore Tax increases. I think the town should look into the State or Gov for Help. Again the Tax Payers cannot afford anymore ! Just for the record The tax payers would like a answer to the Case Memorial Library’s Roof Replacement Project. Why did this only last 6 years ? Why did this cost the Tax Paeyrs again ?

  2. Anyone in the BOE looking for grants to cover this unexpected disaster? How many full-time central office staff are there now in this town of 4 schools. Issues with pipes freezing is old news at Peck. Facilities didn’t prepare for the temps or inspect the building when the alarm sounded? Glad I moved…

    • Get the facts before you post….the BOE in anticipation of the cold weekend actually turned up the heat and did do building checks all weekend. There is a possibility too, of getting some state reimbursement as well on the work. We are glad you moved too.

  3. Im glad that the BOS moved as they did on this matter. The bidding process is too long. We need to remember that the roof was supposed to be done last year and was delayed. There is no time for delays again. The contractors doing the work are approved by the state. It is time to move along with the work and make sure that this school is up and running for the beginning of school in September.

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