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Thursday, August 16 News

Selectmen OK nearly $1.6M for renovation projects

DARIEN — Hope Barton, the Parent Teacher Organization co-chairwoman at Holmes Elementary School, told the town’s finance board in March that the school’s roof was in urgent need of replacing.

Almost two months later, funds to renovate the roof at Holmes and the varsity baseball field at Darien High School are nearing approval.

“These were both priority one capital projects for the Board of Education,” First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said at a Board of Selectmen meeting Monday. The selectmen voted during that meeting to approve nearly $1.6 million for the projects.

Replacing the turf baseball fields at the high school is expected to cost $575,000. The renovations at Holmes, which include the roof and a skylight, are slated to cost $879,471 and $124,592, respectively.

Director of Finance Jennifer Charneski said an additional $26,000 is allotted to cover issuance costs.

Specific details for projects, however, are still in the developing stage, according to Finance Director Michael Feeney.

“(The varsity baseball field) has had major repairs in worn-out areas and is near the end of its useful life,” Feeney said via email.

Regarding Holmes, Feeney said the roof was almost 21 years old and had leaks.

“The skylight is in the gymnasium and is covered with plastic due to leaks. It will be changed as part of the roofing project,” Feeney said.

In April, the Board of Finance decided to transfer a portion of the selectmen’s 2018-19 budget to bond the three school capital projects.

“These projects are capital items that we included in our budget because they were identified as priority needs,” Tara Ochman, Board of Education chairwoman said via email. “The town is responsible for finding the best way to finance these projects and we are supportive of their efforts.”

The appropriations will now go to the Board of Finance, and the Representative Town Meeting will review them in June.

Board of Finance Chairman Jon Zagrodzky said the the board had talked about the projects in an April meeting and the bonding authorization would only require a formal approval.

“These are really just maintenance projects and the bonding is pretty straightforward,” Zagrodzky said.

humberto.juarez@hearstmediact.com

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