Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Graner presented a “final iteration” of the middle school renovation project at a regular Board of Education meeting Wednesday.
- The blue portion is the wing that will accommodate the 6th grade students.
- The white portion is the media center, which will become an outdoor courtyard, which would be encased in glass, thereby giving the surrounding 12 classrooms a window.
- The green portion is a renovation that would bring five classrooms and 80 pre-school students to the building.
- Also, visitors will enter into a secured vestibule and talk through a window to office staff before being allowed into the school.
The renovations include six science classroom labs, new ventilation, some additional classrooms and a kitchen, which would prepare food for the middle school, the Gales Ferry School and Juliet W. Long School.
The rest of the building would be brought up to current code by installing new electrical, ventilation and heating, etc.
In the meantime, Facilities Director Samuel Kilpatrick presented the plans to improve security in the middle school. Automatic magnetic doors are scheduled to be installed by the end of February vacation but after the open forum on school security last week, Kilpatrick and architect Jim Lawler and the town’s fire marshal James Mann figured out how to erect walls in the cluster area.
The temporary walls will line the hallways in the cluster area although the accordion-style curtains will remain. The walls will be about 7-feet high.
“That way it won’t interfere with the fire system and ventilation and lighting,” Kilpatrick said.
“There was a real sense of urgency and not wanting to wait,” said Graner about securing the middle school. “Having to wait several years seemed not reasonable.”
The materials are estimated to cost $25,000 and can be reused later for the renovation.
After several meetings of the full committee and sub-committees from October to December, the committee recommended a one-year delay in the transition to sixth grade students.
“It’s important to bring the sixth graders all together as soon as possible but we would recommend waiting a year, to September 2014,” said Stephanie Calhoun.
She said they want to hold off on the transition so that students, parents and teachers can get used to the idea and so that the committee can have all the pieces in place.
“We’ve given ourselves a year to do it well,” she said.
Some uncertainty about the middle school renovation project played a part in the delay. Board members do not know if the project will be approved by voters in May or how long the renovation project will take.
Graner anticipated a final plan and costs by mid-February.
The Ledyard Board of Education usually meets on the first and third Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Ledyard High School media center. Check their website for more details.