With classes not in session over the summer, Cheshire Public Schools were significantly quieter for a couple of months, but there was still work being done behind the scenes.
After the pandemic caused projects to be delayed last year, Cheshire took advantage of the opportunity to catch up on construction and upgrades to multiple buildings.
“It was great that we could take care of these projects and improve infrastructure in the District,” said School District Chief Operating Officer Vincent Masciana.
In one of the more visible projects, “person traps” were built in the front entrances of Cheshire High School and Dodd Middle School. The “traps” require visitors to have to go through two doors to gain entrance to the buildings, in order to increase security at those facilities.
The schools also use a product called LobbyGuard that scans driver’s licenses to screen people.
“We check on the sex offender’s list and, if visitors are cleared through that, we give them a pass to get into the next set of doors. Right now, there is only one set of doors, but by the end of the month we’ll have the second section installed,” explained Masciana.
For the Public Building Commission project, the Town of Cheshire awarded a bid in the amount of $953,500 to A. Secondino and Son, Inc.
Cheshire will have the same security system installed at Highland and Doolittle Elementary Schools next summer.
Masciana added that the Town expects that a School Security Grant will allow for the reimbursement of approximately 40 percent of the project.
Also at CHS, Cheshire had work done on over 100 doors and frames to make sure that they are compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). The project was planned for the summer of 2020, but had to be pushed forward to this past season.
“We expanded the doors, so you can get a wheelchair in there, for example,” stated Masciana. “We worked on locksets, so that teachers can lock the doors from the inside now. You can also see that they are locked from outside the classroom.”
At Doolittle, a second phase of bathroom construction was done this year. Computer labs were also turned into rooms for counselors.
The oil storage tank was also upgraded at the school.
“DPH (Department of Public Health) requires that the tank be replaced after 30 years, so we were due for that project,” said Masciana.
A section of the roof at Dodd Middle School was also up for replacement. Additionally, workers put in new ceiling tiles at Dodd and CHS.
“We also cleaned up old wirings above the tiles,” stated Masciana.
Before schools opened two weeks ago, annual inspections, routine painting, floor waxing, cleaning, and more were done, Masciana explained.
Right now, the District is also replacing the boiler system at Doolittle and Highland.
“The Doolittle boiler will be oil-fired, while the Highland system runs on natural gas,” stated Masciana. “Sometimes, we work on things that aren’t visible to people, but they are still projects that need to get done.”