The Representative Town Meeting was in full agreement Monday night regarding approval to build a new pavilion at Darien High School.
The acceptance of a $500,000 gift from the Darien Athletic Foundation for construction of a 1,023-square-foot building near the football field was made official with little discussion. The local philanthropic group, which was responsible for donating a scoreboard to the high school last year, has its sights set on a larger effort it coins the Sunny Day Project, of which this pavilion is part.
"The building will be operated and maintained by the Board of Education," said Dennis Maroney, District III, chairman of the Education Committee, which unanimously recommended approving the gift. "It will be allowed to be open for school functions, as well as special functions."
"Currently, there are no plans to have a vendor in to sell food," he said.
In order to move the project forward, representatives of the DAF recently told the Board of Selectmen during a presentation that the necessary kitchen equipment for an outside vendor initially wouldn't be installed, but can be added later.
James Palen, District VI, chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee, said, "The Darien Athletic Foundation will cover all costs of construction, including liability insurance," while the Board of Education will be responsible for maintenance, which is estimated to be between $7,000 and $8,000 a year.
Only one member raised a question about the project, which came in the form of a request for consideration.
"It would be fantastic if they were open on the weekends," said William Glassmeyer, District I. "If that could be part of the deal, that would certainly be wonderful, if the Board of Ed could think about that."
"Those fields are used 24/7," he said, "and the little kids running to the Porta-Johns is certainly a pain."
His committee, which unanimously endorsed the project, "came away very confident" that health and safety questions were answered, he said.
The vote passed 68-0, with only the moderator, Sarah Seelye, abstaining.
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.