RTM approves $1.6M in school projects
DARIEN — The high school will soon see a new baseball turf field and Holmes Elementary a renovated roof and skylight.
Three projects totaling $1.6 million were approved by the Representative Town Meeting on Monday, though not without some question from members, particularly on the baseball turf field project at the high school.
“When was the last time the field was turfed or replaced?” Frank Aldeman from District 6 asked. “How often will it have to be replaced?”
Ann Reed, chairwoman of the education committee, said the turf field’s lifespan is 10 years and it needed replacement as it had been there for said amount of time.
David Bayne, District 5, questioned why the funds for the projects hadn’t been included in the budget that was passed last May.
Jack Davis, chairman of the Finance and Budget committee, said the projects had been removed from the budget to bond them, not tax for them.
Bayne pressed the question.
“It seems that every year we’ve been asked at the June or September meeting to approve extraordinary items,” Bayne said. “I still have reservations of having large capital projects of having large capital projects out of the bonding process.”
Davis said the Board of Finance had made the decision to bond the item in May.
“We discussed these at budget meetings,” Davis said. “Nobody hid these.”
In previous reporting Michael Feeney, the finance director of the Board of Education, had said the roof at Holmes Elementary was almost 21 years old and leaking. He said the skylight “is in the gymnasium and is covered with plastic due to leaks.”
Reed described the urgency of the roof renovation project.
“It has been terrible, it has been leaking and the library books have been covered with plastic,” Reed said. “It’s really bad.”
The resolution for the turf field passed with a 68-4 vote. The roof and skylight project passed with 73 votes.