Stevenson calls reports on school office problems 'misinformation'
Published 6:18 am, Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Board of Education members' concerns about unresolved problems with the school district offices at 35 Leroy Ave., which last week prompted school board officials to refuse to take control of the building, were dismissed Monday by First Selectman Jayme Stevenson as "misinformation" perpetrated by the local press.
At the Board of Education's Nov. 11 meeting, members cited a series of continuing problems as the reasons for their refusal to accept transfer of the structure from town officials, including lack of heat, leaks and odd smells coming from the basement.
"There is a lot of work left to be done in the building," Board of Education Chairwoman Betsy Hagerty-Ross said last week. "There are a lot of unknowns, especially the heat."
According to Michael Lynch, director of school facilities, the heat wasn't working in the building on the three coldest days during the last few weeks.
"I'm deeply disturbed by the overall haphazard way this building has been renovated and put together," school board member Callie Sullivan had said at that meeting.
But in comments on the issue to Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting, Stevenson called the press reports on the school board concerns "misinformation."
"In response to the articles written in both the Darien Times and the Darien News referencing the Board of Education discussion on the outstanding items ... I just wanted to clear the record on that," Stevenson said.
The first selectman said she had received "a detailed report" from the building committee that of 20 items for which concern was expressed, "there are only four that remain under the building committee control, and they are all very minor," she said, including touching up paint, re-pointing some brick work and fixing a broken sprinkler head.
"In relation to HVAC and heating systems ... adjustments were already made," she said. "The same engineer has reviewed the heating system and has made recommendations for improvement ... That is my understanding."
"The system requires some massaging to make it work well," she said. "Those things are being scrutinized at the moment."
"The Board of Education hasn't wanted to do that transfer of property until these last few items are resolved, which isn't unusual," Stevenson said. "What's uncommon is that there's so much misinformation being perpetuated in a public forum without the people who are directly involved in the building project," she said, giving their input.
"My understanding is that the things will get corrected ... nobody wants their employees to be cold and uncomfortable, as we didn't want to be hot in the summer," she said.
Stevenson said she has asked that David Campbell, chairman of the Leroy building committee, be at the next school board meeting to address the concerns directly.