BOE Mulls Over Possible School Building On Marion Road

BOE Mulls Over Possible School Building On Marion Road

Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan presented a plan for another “test fit” of a possible new elementary school to be located on Marion Road.

The presentation comes at a time when the Town Council is moving forward with the Scenario 6 option that was presented to them by the School Modernization Committee back in April, which calls for the building of two new elementary schools in the north and south ends of town, as well as the demolition of two current school buildings.

Solan, speaking at the Oct. 13 meeting of the Board of Education, expressed his overall excitement for the future of Cheshire’s school buildings, and how he has watched the District grow overtime. 

“...There are substantial needs for our facilities district-wide,” he began. “Every building needs to be updated … and that’s not the fault of the Board of Education. I want to commend them because it is through much of their hard work that we’re at a place where the community acknowledges the need to update our schools.”

Solan then gave a slideshow presentation on building an elementary school located at the intersection of Marion Road and Jarvis Street.

“(Moser Pilon Nelson Architects) has presented four different versions of what the school might look like … in terms of vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, etc.” he said. “You’ll see that while the property itself is rather large, there is a fair degree (of land) that you cannot build upon.”

Solan pointed out a dashed line on one of the schematics presented during the discussion, which bisects the property and indicates a sewer line that cannot be built upon.

He also indicated that surrounding the property is an area of wetlands, which also cannot be touched as part of any future development. 

“We know that the Town Council made a recommendation to consider moving Humiston and the central offices to this site,” he added. “I think part of the rationale is that (Humiston) is 109 years old, is not ADA accessible, and has multiple code violations.”

The four different plans from Moser Pilon Nelson all show different renderings of building layouts on the property, and different configurations of each building. 

The first two renderings would have Humiston School separate from the main school building, where the others have the alternative high school attached. Each rendering has a different number of field spaces available, with the second offering the most field spaces. These new fields could help address the town’s growing field use problem for after-school sports activities, officials stated.

“(This school) would replace Chapman, and be larger than Chapman currently is,” he explained. “We would redistrict to alleviate the pressure that we’re currently experiencing (with enrollment), or that we anticipate experiencing as enrollment increases.”

Solan explained that, during this first phase, the Town would be looking to construct the new schools simultaneously. While the school being considered for the Marion Road site is built in the north end of town, another school will be built on the south end to replace Norton Elementary on the property it currently occupies. 

“We have planned here to build a new (Norton) behind the existing school, and they would put a wall between the construction site and the existing building,” he said. “The architects came up with two different test fits for that site.”

Solan then walked through the costs of construction for each individual building. 

“When you look at the new north-end school and the south-end school, which also assumes the demolition of Norton, the total cost there is between $72 and $87 million after reimbursement. The gross cost is between $108 and $130 million.”

The total costs of the Scenario 6 plan, including all future phases that account for school renovation, was estimated between $427.91 million and $540.24 million when the projects were introduced back in April.

The rest of the plan involves demolishing Darcey School and significant renovations each of the remaining facilities. 

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