Town receives partial reimbursement for school project

The town has received $2.9 million from the state as partial reimbursement for the Miller-Driscoll School renovation, Chris Burney, the town’s facilities director, said Thursday, April 13, at a meeting of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee.

The state funds were calculated on $15 million in reimbursable costs submitted by the town. The costs are being reimbursed at a rate of 21%.

“A lot of us at town hall feel a lot better about the process than a month ago,” Burney said, when the state announced it had not sold any of the bonds meant to fund reimbursement for some 20 school projects taking place around the state.

The town expects to get about another $5 million from the state, and the project is expected to come in around $35 million to $36 million total, committee chair Glenn Hemmerle said.

The town is submitting another $15 million in expenses to the state for reimbursement.

Wood ceiling retained
Also at the meeting, the committee voted to retain the architectural design that calls for a decorative wood panel ceiling in the main corridor outside the media center at the school. Burney raised the possibility of saving about $63,000 if the design were changed to use regular ceiling tiles instead.

Architect Randall Luther said use of the wood was an aesthetic choice to make the area, which is close to the entrance, more attractive. There were not many choices, he said, because the ceiling must be accessible to equipment overhead.

In a discussion of the pros and cons of changing the design, committee member Mandi Schmauch said, “that is the ugliest part of the building, when you walk in … the library is so ugly … anything we can do to make this for someone who is checking out the school for the first time, a potential Wilton homeowner, anything we can do to make this look nice I’m all in agreement for …”

Committee member John Kalamarides asked project manager Mike Douyard if Turner Construction was expecting any significant change orders between now and the end of the project that would presumably increase costs.

“Not that we know about,” he replied.

Schmauch also asked if the money could be used instead for the media center, but Burney replied that renovation of the media center was not part of this project.

After a bit more discussion, the committee voted to keep the wood ceiling.

The building committee will meet again Thursday, June 8.