Board member Katie Stein had her legs covered with a Buffalo Bills fleece blanket, while other members stayed bundled in their winter coats. Hot coffee cups sat in front of most members, but just how long they managed to stay hot is unknown.
But on Monday and Tuesday, George Ellis Co. was working to fix the heat in the building, in part as a result of Board of Education Chairman Betsy Hagerty-Ross telling the Mather Center/35 Leroy Building Committee that something needed to be done.
After the last Board of Education meeting, Hagerty-Ross told the building committee that "we need to get this fixed." Hagerty-Ross has brought a shawl to drape over her legs to keep herself warm during meetings.
As it turns out, the temperature three feet off the ground in the meeting room was 58 degrees, according to Joe Sandella, the project manager from George Ellis. The company did the engineer's system installation and has been working on the building since November 2012. Sandella said that from "Day One" of the project, he felt the desired system wasn't right.
"If you were to take a step ladder and go up four or five feet, you would notice the heat difference," Sandella said. He estimates that between six and seven feet off the ground, the temperature was between 66 and 67 degrees, and 10 feet off the ground, the heat would near 80 degrees.
All of the heat in the meeting room was rising up to the roof, but had no way of being circulated down into the room.
"All the heat is going to be under the roof," Sandella said. "So you'll have a great snow-melting system for up there."
Sandella suggested to Joe Ryan, the "shuffle" program's project manager, that fans should be installed in the room to force the warm air down into the room. "If you put three or four of those fans in the room, the temperature would jump from 58 degrees to 74 or 75 degrees because it makes that much of a difference," Sandella said. The fans have not yet been authorized for installation.
For now, the amount of cold, fresh air that is being drawn in from outside has been reduced to keep the temperature from dropping too much.
Sandella was unsure as of press time if his employees would need to work Thursday at 35 Leroy Ave.
Work was done to the administrative offices, as well.
The temperature issues at 35 Leroy Ave. are in stark contrast to the previous meeting room at Town Hall, where it was often so warm that the windows behind the board members were opened.
Dappreio Construction, the original contractor for the town's "shuffle" project -- in which the senior center is moving to Town Hall and the Board of Education to the former library at 35 Leroy Ave. -- suffered financial troubles and the town bid for a new contractor. The $3.1 million contract was awarded to Gar-San Corp., which is in charge of the Western Connecticut State University White Hall stair renovation and construction at the Metro-North State Street station in New Haven.
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