DARIEN — As Darien prepares to go into budget season, the Board of Education is beginning to look at what capital projects need to be completed in their five-year plan.
District Facilities Director Michael Lynch presented the anticipated capital projects per school to the board at a meeting on Tuesday. Each project was ranked based on its urgency, with one being the most pressing need, and was given a cost estimate.
At Darien High School, Lynch recommended replacing the school’s oil burners with natural gas units for about $65,000. Lower priority projects included adding a wireless clock system and adding new carpet to the library. However, of top priority is replacing the turf baseball field for around $575,000, a number Lynch said has gone up in estimate since last year.
Middlesex Middle School will need gas meter piping through the cafeteria ceiling for around $35,000 which Lynch said is “a little more money than we anticipated spending.” Installing new carpet in the main office, library and music room is also a top priority.
“It’s wearing out badly and it’s not staying pain free,” Lynch said.
Many older items need upgrading across the board in the town’s elementary schools. Hindley School is looking at three classroom renovations and window replacements, while Lynch recommended a skylight from 1933 at Holmes School be replaced, as well as shingles on the roof. Tokeneke School needs new boiler room piping and Royle School needs a new boiler room sump pump.
Ox Ridge School’s current distribution board is from when the school was built in 1966. However, the idea of rebuilding the school has been thrown around, adding a layer of consideration to all capital projects. However, Lynch said the board, which is so old it’s been turned down by three engineers, could be taken to any new site the district builds.
“Whatever future fate may be decided on for Ox Ridge, this is something that can be reused,” he said.
Central office remains in good shape and district-wide focus is on replacing public school vehicles.
The suggestions were presented as guidelines for the board as they prepare to enter budget discussions next month.
“It’s prioritized and the board has the right to make prioritization changes within that discussion,” said board chair Tara Ochman.