Selectmen roundup: Options presented for Miller-Driscoll, interim fire chief position approved

The Miller-Driscoll Building Committee presented two options for the renovation of the school to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Both options one and two would fulfill the objectives outlined by the board for the project, committee Chairman Bruce Hampson said, but the committee “unanimously” supported option one, as it would “best meet the needs of the students and the needs of the town,” he said.

Option one’s estimated cost is slightly higher than the preliminary budget set by the selectmen’s mandate, but would be better suited for an elementary school, said Tai Soo Kim architect Randall Luther. The first option would include removing the current pre-K building, adding additional parking, and moving the pre-K classroom to the lower level. This would give the program a separate entrance.

Option one also allows for moving playgrounds behind the school, and would greatly improve outside “sight lines,” the architect said. According to him, it represents the “transformative option,” as it would create a more centralized school that would allow students to feel more “at home.”

Option two, on the other hand, would focus on renovation of all current buildings, and would involve no demolition. The playgrounds would remain in the front of the school, and much of the school’s current “inefficiencies” would remain in place, the architect said.

Estimates provided by Turner Construction listed the cost of options one and two as $36,071,000, and $31,085,000 respectively.

Construction related to option one would take approximately 135 weeks, according to Turner Construction, and option two would take approximately 97 weeks.

Interim fire chief

Fire Commission chair Gary Mecozzi told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday that he and the Fire Commission believe an interim fire chief is necessary until the commission is able to find a suitable candidate for the full-time chief’s position.

“The commission feels we would like to hire an interim chief for [up to] one year. The interim chief will be a chief, or retired chief from Connecticut. There are a pool of candidates, there are at least 14 that we have identified.”

The hiring of an interim chief, he said, would allow the commission to take its time in selecting a new chief. It would also allow it to reconsider some of the position’s requirements, he said, including a residency requirement that resulted in the last candidate withdrawing his application.

The board approved the position of interim fire chief. Mr. Mecozzi said he believed the position could be filled within four to six weeks.

Bridge over the river Norwalk

Town Planner Bob Nerney was on hand Tuesday to update the board on his efforts to secure a $500,000 STEAP grant to build a footbridge from the Wilton train station to Wilton Center.

He said he believed the town had a “strong application” and was confident about receiving the grant.