Jul 28, 2014
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UPDATE: School Board to Move Forward on Repairing Fawn Hollow's Roof

With town talks with Honeywell stalled, Monroe Public Schools is forging ahead to meet the district's facilities needs.

UPDATE: School Board to Move Forward on Repairing Fawn Hollow's Roof

Update: Thursday, 5 p.m.: First Selectman Steve Vavrek told Patch that the Fawn Hollow roof repairs will be included in his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013-14. The first selectman has yet to make his budget presentation.


Original story:

Fawn Hollow Elementary School's roof is a decade beyond its life expectancy, according to Supt. of Schools James Agostine, who says leaks into the building during rainstorms are among the evidence of the wear and tear.

Agostine had hoped the roof repair could be included in an agreement between the town and Honeywell, a private firm proposing to improve the energy efficiency of Monroe's school and municipal buildings and to pay for the work through savings on utility bills. But those contract talks had stalled.

"I heard the Honeywell contract proposal is in low gear, not moving and not likely to go forward," Agostine said.

On Monday night, Agostine asked the Board of Education to support moving forward with a bonding issue of just over $2 million for the roof.

A bond issue would have to be approved by the Board of Finance and the Town Council before being voted on in a referendum.

"If it goes down and doesn't happen, what's plan B?" Kelly Plunkett, a school board member, asked.

"It caves in and we fix it," Jeff Guttman, another board member, replied.

Agostine added, "Or it gets mold and we fix it."

Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Donna Lane expressed reservations over the scenario of paying around $50,000 for a roof study only to not receive support from other town officials.

But Agostine said the district has to move forward and hire an architect in order for the approvals to be obtained quickly enough for the town to be eligible for potential reimbursement of 36-38% in funding from the State Facilities Unit. The superintendent will bring a request for proposal (RFP) to the board to vote on at its Feb. 19 meeting, so it can go out the next day.

The state reimbursement is tied to a higher standard on the roof's pitch. Guttman asked administrators to calculate the price difference between fixing the roof with the reimbursement and doing it without.

Agostine said with the pace the town is going at, it could take two years to get to each schools' roof with a four year wait for Masuk High School.

"This is long, long overdue," he said. "We have to get the balls rolling. Unfortunately, we may lose a summer with this project."

Agostine said he did not want the process to be so rushed, but after the delay in waiting on the Honeywell contract, time is running out to get things done and still be eligible for the state reimbursement.

Honeywell Contract Not Dead Yet

When asked if the Honeywell deal was dead in the water Tuesday, First Selectman Steve Vavrek said it is not. He said any contract agreement is up to the Board of Finance and the Town Council.

"There's still a lot of questions from the Board of Finance, a lot of questions in their minds over whether to do it ourselves instead of bringing in an outside company," Vavrek said. "I think that's what they're looking at mainly."

The Town Council has also been doing its homework on the lengthy contract proposal. Vavrek said the town is looking into "low hanging fruit" that its employees can do themselves.

"In this economy, I kind of applaud them for looking into this," Vavrek said. "They are definitely doing their due diligence." 

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