Hemmerle steps in to lead school renovation committee
Glenn Hemmerle is the new vice chair of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee, following his election at the committee’s meeting on Thursday, Feb. 4. Hemmerle, who is also a member of the Board of Education, fills one of the seats left vacant following the resignations of former co-chairs Karen Birck and Bruce Hampson. The committee has also lost another member with John Guth resigning due to work commitments.
Immediately after Hemmerle’s election, ex-officio member Patti Temple was elected recording secretary.
Hemmerle will serve as the head of the committee until a new chairman is found. “We are looking and hoping to bring someone on board to act as chair,” he told The Bulletin on Monday, Feb. 8. Hemmerle said he does not “have the time or inclination” to step in and lead the committee at this time, but will do so on a temporary basis.
Chris Burney, director of buildings and facilities management and an adviser to the committee, is interviewing potential candidates to fill the vacancies.
Thursday’s meeting was marked by several comments on how communication with parents, and the public in general, has been improved. A meeting with parents took place Feb. 3 during which representatives from Turner Construction reviewed the project and all visited a classroom near the construction area.
“I am so amazed and impressed with the improving communication as a parent … Patti has done such a great job of increasing communication,” said Mandi Schmauch, a parent and member of the FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment) committee. “I think these … are really positive. When I used to talk to my friends the conversations were very aggressive, two or three months ago, and now … they are very positive.”
The renovation also has a website that has been in development for several months. It is now up and offers anticipated work schedules, monthly progress reports, and a variety of documents including monthly budget reports. The address is millerdriscollrenovations.weebly.com although that is expected to change. The website is being managed by Temple.
The committee also has an email address: MDBPinfo@wiltonct.org.
Following the receipt of two emails from parents concerned about noise and the lack of sunlight because some classroom windows had been boarded up for safety, a survey will be sent to teachers to see how the construction is or is not affecting children. Burney said they will use the results to guide decisions made on available daylight and noise in the classrooms.
The board was updated on work that has recently taken place and will take place over the next several months:
• The foundation at the pre-K wing is 80% complete;
• Excavation has taken place for foundations and underground utilities;
• The peach core is down and expected to be completely demolished Feb. 15;
• PCB removal will take place over Presidents Day break, Feb. 12-15;
• Structural steel is expected to start March 14.
• Asbestos abatement will take place in the Miller wing over the April break.
The Cola family of Wilton has retained an attorney who has submitted four pages of questions “seeking documentation and confirmation that we are doing what we said we would, doing it in a correct way and basically obeying federal and Connecticut statutes that they specifically reference,” Burney told the committee.
When asked about the nature of the questions Burney said, “I am not aware there are any accusations in that letter, that we are not doing something. They are asking for confirmation of fact.”
First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, who was also at the meeting, said the family was simply seeking reassurance that when their child returns to school after abatement work is done they will be returning to a safe environment.
The board will meet again Thursday, March 3 at 5 p.m. in the Wilton High School Library mezzanine.