$22 Million Needed for Renovation of Long Lots School

Jan 13, 2022 | Community, Education, Government, Health | 0 comments

Long Lots Elementary School (File Photo by Jarret Liotta)

by Jarret Liotta

WESTPORT — An extensive $22-million renovation to Long Lots Elementary School — or even potential replacement of the entire building — has been suggested by international consultant Colliers Project Leaders.

In a letter to Supt. of School Thomas Scarice today, Jan. 13, Charles Warrington, director of project management, outlined some details following a Dec. 16 report about the building envelope, mechanical and electrical systems, and observations relating to water infiltration.

Scarice, asked for comment later Thursday, said, “I am confident that the Board of Education will conduct a thorough and transparent review, over a series of meetings, to begin the process of developing a long-term strategy in response to the facility needs at Long Lots Elementary School.

“In the interim,” he added, “I am equally confident that Long Lots School will continue to successfully and safely serve the students of our community.”

“We recommend that Westport Public Schools consider executing a holistic review of (the) building and potential options for either renovating or replacing the facility in full,” Warrington wrote in the “Budget Analysis and Recommendations” letter based on the Colliers’ study of Long Lots.

“We estimate the minimum cost to replace these systems to be roughly $22 million for the entire building,” Warrington wrote, including $7.6 million for the building envelope and $9.5 million for HVAC and electrical work, plus various contingencies.

History of Concerns

For years parents and staff have expressed concerns about mold at the former junior high school, built in 1953.

In August the Board of Education moved to expedite a study of the school, suspended its traditional procurement process , and allocated $35,700 to pay Colliers to begin work.

In September minor mold findings were reported to the BOE, though they were deemed nowhere near as extensive as the situation at Coleytown Middle School prior to its $32-million renovation.

Warrington called the building “an aging facility … Most of the systems in the building are past their useful life with many of them dating back to the original construction.”

“Two of the major building systems are in poor condition as documented by Colliers,” he wrote. “The building envelope and the mechanical/electrical systems.”

“These two major systems are primarily responsible for maintaining the indoor environmental conditions of the building,” he wrote. “In very simple terms, they are responsible for keeping the building dry and warm (or cool).”

Hazardous Material Likely

Warrington goes on to state that hazardous material is likely present in the building.

“The likelihood of hazardous materials being present above ceilings and behind walls is very likely, as well as hazardous materials that were used in the original construction of these systems,” he wrote. “Old boilers may contain asbestos linings. Pipes were typically wrapped with insulation containing asbestos. Some walls may contain vermiculite that is a suspected carcinogen as well.

“Abatement of these materials will need to be accounted for,” he wrote.

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