The school board and the city are fighting over the responsibility for the New Canaan High School


Addressing the Selectmen Buildings and Infrastructure Advisory Committee, Jo-Ann Keating, CFO of the school, explained why the school administration should oversee the New Canaan High School umbrella project.

Keating gave a presentation on Monday, February 8th, on the estimated $ 7 million project to repair the increasingly leaky roof proposed in the 2021-22 capital budget, which will include two sections of the roof totaling 180,053 square feet .

The roof consists of 30 sections with two main parts. Part is a 121,194 square foot area that was completed in 1999 and is out of warranty. and another is 58,859 square feet that was installed in 2007 and its warranty will expire in 2027.

The school district usually manages construction projects such as roofs. However, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan recently asked if the city should take over the construction projects.

“Project management comes from those of us who live in schools and understand them. We are always welcome to hear from the city, ”said Keating.

Keating reviewed the process carried out by the school, which included getting technical specifications, collecting bids, planning, clearing background checks for workers, reporting to the Education Committee’s resource committee, and finally getting involved in the infrastructure advisory board.

“What she described in detail there is basically project management,” said Tiger Mann, director of the public works department, at the meeting. “The way she deals with it is exactly the same as we do on our side. We just have different players.”

Man continued.

“We had people doing exactly the same analysis,” he said. “At the end of the day, a roof is a roof. We have just done the DPW roof, the motorway garage roof … “

Keating said she and Dan Clark, district building manager, have worked together on other rooftop projects in New Canaan schools and other districts.

“We have a strong sense that these schools are staffed by children and staff and we know what their needs are and we understand these projects very well,” said Keating.

Clark explained special steps the district is taking to protect the new roofs, including putting down pads so that the new roof does not experience unnecessary wear and tear during the project or air conditioning maintenance.

Mann compared school roof projects with city roof installations.

“We put running pads everywhere,” said Mann. City buildings also have HVAC systems on their roofs, he said.

The city is working to “get the full life expectancy out of this roof,” said Mann. The school aims for a 30-year guarantee while the city sometimes aims for a 50-year lifespan, he added.

The school buildings all have flat roofs, while the city has flat roofs and pitched roofs. “We’re running the game on the city side up to the roof types,” said Mann.

“Jo-Ann is correct. Their buildings are slightly larger in scope and size than some of us, and each has its own problems and concerns. “Said man. “There are different considerations for different types of roofs.”

Mann agreed that there could be a difference in planning a city rooftop project.

The district hopes to finish the high school roof in the summer months, if the school isn’t spread out this summer or over two summers. School officials receive offers for both timetables, as there can be savings if the entire structure is covered at the same time.

“For the most part, we can work on a roof while people are in the building, and there isn’t that much disruption, but we understand the timing concerns and their sensitivity to them,” Mann said.

School officials have been working on it for months. “We’re very close to bidding,” said Keating.

Problems with the roof

Moynihan raised concerns that moisture from leaking school roofs can lead to mold, which can lead to poor air quality.

“We’re concerned about air quality,” said Keating. “That’s why high school was moved to the top of the list.”

“Like in the science wing of high school, one day when you walk in a classroom you have all sorts of water stains on the ceiling tiles that are replaced at night. Then go in two days later and see them again, ”she added.

Keating said the district has hired contractors to identify and “plug” certain areas of leakage. It’s also budgeted $ 40,000 to $ 50,000 to address these very same issues, Keating said.

Economies of scale

Committee member George Blauvelt asked if the city overseeing the school roof project made no sense due to the “difference in roof philosophy” or “roof structures” between the Education Council and the city.

“I wouldn’t say there is any other philosophy,” said Mann. “We both share exactly the same thing, although we both like to have an engineer analyze it for the reasons we just discussed.”

“They don’t think there’s any bargaining power we can get when we have half a dozen companies where we say, ‘Okay, you’re going to get all the business from New Canaan, but we’re expecting the best price?'” Asked Blauvelt, who is also a member of the finance committee.

“I don’t like tying my horse to a wagon,” said Mann.

The first chosen believed the CFO would take up the matter at his next ordinary meeting.

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