West Hartford Board of Education Adopts $4.575 Million Capital Improvement Program for 2018-19

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

The West Hartford Board of Education approved the Capital Improvement Plan for 2018-19 and 2019-20, which will be incorporated into the Town of West Hartford’s overall Capital Improvement Plan.

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to adopt a $4.575 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the 2018-19 academic year and a $4.7 million CIP for 2019-20.

Spending for an air conditioning and ventilation study, which Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore originally included in the 2019-20 CIP, was removed from the plan that the Board approved Tuesday night.

An estimate of $100,000 was originally included in the 2019-20 CIP to try to determine the available technologies and cost of air conditioning nine of the town’s elementary schools. Two elementary schools as well as the middle and high schools have air conditioning already.

Prior to the vote, Dave Pauluk, a Democrat, suggested that the Board perhaps did not consider all of the options when discussing the issue and deciding to remove the study from the CIP. He said he recently read about Glastonbury Public Schools plans to use the “creative solution” of ductless air conditioning, rather than a complete central air conditioning system, which carries a much lower cost.

The smaller units would cool individual classrooms, not common areas like the cafeteria or gym, Pauluk said, but would not meet the “fresh air needs” of the schools.

“I suggest amending our vote tonight to have the air conditioning study included as a placeholder for two years for now,” Pauluk said.

Director of Plant and Facilities Bob Palmer said that while the Board has reviewed at 12-year CIP, the vote is only for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 years.

The full CIP that the Board reviewed on Jan. 16 included $4.5 million per year – which represents one elementary school – for installation of a fresh air system and air conditioning. After the Board’s discussion on Jan. 16, that was also been removed from the CIP.

The CIP is the funding for the ongoing maintenance of the town’s 16 school buildings, and proposed work for 2018-19 includes reconfiguration of the Bugbee office; replacement of visitor bleachers and science hoods at Conard, both of which are necessary for code and accessibility purposes; masonry work at Hall; flooring, roofing, painting, switchgear and allocation of funds to replace the boiler at King Philip; auditorium seating and paving at Norfeldt; masonry repairs at Sedgwick; exterior door replacement at Webster Hill; playground replacement at Whiting Lane; and auditorium lighting at Wolcott.

The Board’s recommended CIP will be forwarded to Town Manager Matt Hart to be included in West Hartford’s overall Capital Improvement Plan.

The complete and detailed CIP will be posted on the West Hartford Public Schools website.

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