Government Schools

Board Approves Capital Improvement Plan; Receives 10-Year Enrollment Projections

West Hartford Public Schools Superintendent's Office. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The West Hartford Board of Education met Wednesday night and among the actions were approval of the CIP that had been submitted earlier in the month – which includes the elementary school air quality improvement project that is beginning at Duffy – and receipt of enrollment projections.

By Keith Griffin 

With no discussion, the Board of Education Wednesday night approved a capital improvement plan (CIP) for the next two budget years. The board also received enrollment projections for the next decade that show minimal changes in enrollment.

The board is seeking $15,415,000 in CIP funding for the 2024-2025 budget. Approximately one-third of that, $5,540,000, is for elementary school air improvement. An additional $800,000 is requested for a school building heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) study. Robert Palmer, the school district’s director of plant and facilities, explained at the Feb. 6 board meeting that the study is a new mandate that came down legislatively. It will require the hiring of engineers to conduct HVAC studies at all schools.

For the 2023-24 budget, the school system received $11,047,000 for capital improvements. Of that, $4,622,000 was for elementary school air improvement.

The program for air improvement began in the 2022-23 fiscal year. The plan for Duffy Elementary School has been bid and construction will begin this spring. The design for Webster Hill is complete and is expected to go to bid this spring with an anticipated start date of spring/summer 2025.

The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) identifies funds needed for the ongoing maintenance of school buildings, new construction, furniture, equipment, and computer infrastructure. The CIP includes a recommended appropriation for fiscal years 2024-25 and 2025-26.

Upon approval by the Board of Education on Feb. 21, 2024, the CIP will be forwarded to the Town Manager for review and incorporation into the Town of West Hartford’s CIP. The Town Council will appropriate funding for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 fiscal years of the CIP at its April 23, 2024 meeting.

In addition to the elementary school air improvement, planned projects for the next three fiscal years are detailed below by school building:

  • Aiken: Restroom Renovations (2025-26)
  • Braeburn: Roof Replacement (2025-26)
  • Bugbee: Restroom Renovations (2026-27), Roof Replacement (2026-27), Fresh Air and Windows (2025-26, 2026-27)
  • Conard: Exterior Door Replacements (2026-27), Air Handler Replacements (2026-27)
  • Duffy: Flooring (2026-27), Painting (2026-27), Paving (2026-27)
  • Hall: Restroom Renovations (2024-2025), Roof Replacement (2024-25), Health Suite Improvements (2024-25), Air Handler Replacements (2025-26), Athletic Field Irrigation Replacement (2025-26)
  • King Philip: Gym Floor Replacement (2024-25), Main Entrance Security Improvements (2024-25), Flooring (2025-26, 2026-27), Painting (2025-26, 2026-27), Health Suite Improvements (2025-26)
  • Sedgwick: Exterior Door Replacements (2025-26), Sedgwick Electrical Switchgear Replacement (2026-27)
  • Webster Hill: Fresh Air and Windows (2024-25, 2025-26), Boiler Removal (2024-25)
  • Whiting Lane: Flooring (2024-25), Painting (2024-25), Paving and Sidewalks (2024-25)
  • Wolcott: Auditorium Seating (2024-25), Auditorium Lighting/Sound (2024-25), Cafeteria Flooring (2025-26), Cafeteria Painting (2025-26), Wolcott Security & Office Improvements (2024-25)

Following the template of the town’s CIP, the board’s CIP also includes funding recommendations for a total of 12 fiscal years, from 2024-25 through 2035-36. It focuses primarily on the continuing investment in maintaining school buildings with recurring projects for building systems (air handlers, electrical switchgear), building envelope (roofs and masonry repairs), and general improvements (flooring replacements, painting, restroom renovations and furniture replacement). It also provides funding for an annual information technology refresh of 1,500 devices.


Currently, in-district enrollment is 8,836 and is projected to vary by no more than 200 students over the coming decade. The most growth comes between now and the 2028 school year which is projected to see 8,996 students before dipping down to 8,827 students (six below the current level) in 2033.

“We don’t see based on our 10-year projections any capacity issues,” Assistant Superintendent of Schools Andrew Morrow told the board, adding the administration will need to look into specialized instruction classroom space as demand is expected to increase. He also explained that the projected changes for example are too small when spread over 17 schools to see a need to close classrooms.

The most recent analysis of enrollment projections was issued by PowerSchool in January 2024. Based upon historical enrollment trends and anticipated new residential development, projections indicate a relatively consistent overall enrollment for the 10 years ending in the 2033-2034 school year.

Working with the town planner, new residential projects were identified by location, type of dwelling, and expected completion date.

Approximately 474 new residential units are projected to be occupied over the next several years. Sixty-four are single-family attached units (townhomes, condominiums, or duplexes) and the remainder are multi-family apartments. This data was the basis for calculating the expected number of school-age children residing in new housing year over year.

Based on this research, the board was told a conservative estimate indicates that new housing will generate 61 additional students in the 2024-25 school year, 42 additional students in 2025-26, and 30 additional students in the 2026-27 school year. These new students are included in enrollment projections to increase accuracy. Morrow told the Board eventually the town will run out of new building space but he is confident in the projections for the next two years.

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Translate »