Wilton BOE chair says ‘work is needed and overdue’ at schools

Board of Education Chair Deborah Low, pictured in 2020, said that she believes the town and district are in agreement on the renovations needed in the school buildings.

Board of Education Chair Deborah Low, pictured in 2020, said that she believes the town and district are in agreement on the renovations needed in the school buildings.

Jarret Liotta / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — Town and school officials seem to be in agreement that the schools have some needed maintenance and upgrades.

The sentiment comes after the Board of Education, Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance toured some of the district’s facilities that need updating and pointed out in the 2022 BOE budget.

On Thursday, BOE Chairwoman Deb Low said that school board finalized its budget proposal, including a budget line of $458,000 to start maintenance and upgrades to the areas in most disrepair.

“The tour was followed by a tri-board meeting where we all agreed, I think, that all the work is needed and overdue,” Low said.

The groups toured Wilton High School and Middebrook Middle School, focusing on the lighting, which Low said is “outdated and dim,” and the ceiling tiles that were “showing their age.”

Specific areas of the schools need to recarpeted as well.

While the tour didn’t include it, Low said three elevators in the district are going to need replacing to stay up to code.

“Long-term, the Middlebrook and Wilton High School project and the elevator replacements will be $5.2 million,” Low told the rest of the school board. “The cost, of course, is going to be the challenge and there will be more discussion on how to phase it and continue to find cost efficiencies.”

Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith spent time reviewing the district’s five-year capital operating budget earlier this year, which will see to the many repairs and upgrades at both Wilton High School and Middlebrook Middle School.

In alignment with Low’s sentiments, Smith said in his budget presentation in January that the district had been “deferring the projects for a couple years,” and is now looking to start by incorporating the costs of the Middlebrook project, as well as the first phase of the high school project, into the 2022-23 request.

Low said the board is advocating for its proposal to be adopted as it supports the district’s program needs and “begins to address the Middlebrook and Wilton High School renovation projects,” which the chairwoman said can no longer be deferred.

A public hearing on the BOE budget will be held before the town’s Board of Finance on March 23.