Editorial: Ready, set, open

For the last two years, Miller-Driscoll School has been the subject of seeming unending controversy and rumors. The latest have been swirling around skepticism the primary school would be ready to welcome its students — pre-k to second grade — when schools open on Sept. 6.

In the words of First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, it will. “You can feel confident this is going to be done,” she said at the end of a walk-through on Tuesday, Aug. 23. She added parents need not worry.

The view from Wolfpit Road may not be promising, but many changes will be evident to parents when they attend Meet the Teacher sessions on Thursday, Sept. 1. They will find spruced up classrooms, a kitchen and cafeteria ready to serve lunch, new bus loops and parking.

Progress has clearly been made since The Bulletin’s last visit to the school three weeks ago.

It won’t be a completed project next month, nor was it ever intended to be. Miller-Driscoll won’t be fully renovated and turned over to the Board of Education until September 2017. And the anticipated finish date for the new pre-k wing will be late October. By then, more than two-thirds of the renovation project will be done.

On Tuesday’s walk-through, Powerbond, a carpet-like material, had been laid in the classrooms and tile was being installed in the hallways. White boards were up in many rooms. The Miller building has all new windows, floors and ceilings. Two playgrounds will be available for use, with the third being installed later this year.

Movers are scheduled to begin work today, moving back all the desks and other classroom accoutrements. Teachers return next Monday and Tuesday to begin setting up their classrooms.

From June 16 through Sept. 6, $11-million worth of work will have been completed.

Will it all be perfect? Probably not. There will be punch-list items to be tweaked. But Turner expects nothing that will adversely affect the operation of the school. It will still be a construction site and some of the grounds will remain in rough condition.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.