UPDATE: School Board to Move Forward on Repairing Fawn Hollow's Roof

With town talks with Honeywell stalled, Monroe Public Schools is forging ahead to meet the district's facilities needs.

Update: Thursday, 5 p.m.: First Selectman Steve Vavrek told Patch that the Fawn Hollow roof repairs will be included in his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013-14. The first selectman has yet to make his budget presentation.


Original story:

Fawn Hollow Elementary School's roof is a decade beyond its life expectancy, according to Supt. of Schools James Agostine, who says leaks into the building during rainstorms are among the evidence of the wear and tear.

Agostine had hoped the roof repair could be included in an agreement between the town and Honeywell, a private firm proposing to improve the energy efficiency of Monroe's school and municipal buildings and to pay for the work through savings on utility bills. But those contract talks had stalled.

"I heard the Honeywell contract proposal is in low gear, not moving and not likely to go forward," Agostine said.

On Monday night, Agostine asked the Board of Education to support moving forward with a bonding issue of just over $2 million for the roof.

A bond issue would have to be approved by the Board of Finance and the Town Council before being voted on in a referendum.

"If it goes down and doesn't happen, what's plan B?" Kelly Plunkett, a school board member, asked.

"It caves in and we fix it," Jeff Guttman, another board member, replied.

Agostine added, "Or it gets mold and we fix it."

Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Donna Lane expressed reservations over the scenario of paying around $50,000 for a roof study only to not receive support from other town officials.

But Agostine said the district has to move forward and hire an architect in order for the approvals to be obtained quickly enough for the town to be eligible for potential reimbursement of 36-38% in funding from the State Facilities Unit. The superintendent will bring a request for proposal (RFP) to the board to vote on at its Feb. 19 meeting, so it can go out the next day.

The state reimbursement is tied to a higher standard on the roof's pitch. Guttman asked administrators to calculate the price difference between fixing the roof with the reimbursement and doing it without.

Agostine said with the pace the town is going at, it could take two years to get to each schools' roof with a four year wait for Masuk High School.

"This is long, long overdue," he said. "We have to get the balls rolling. Unfortunately, we may lose a summer with this project."

Agostine said he did not want the process to be so rushed, but after the delay in waiting on the Honeywell contract, time is running out to get things done and still be eligible for the state reimbursement.

Honeywell Contract Not Dead Yet

When asked if the Honeywell deal was dead in the water Tuesday, First Selectman Steve Vavrek said it is not. He said any contract agreement is up to the Board of Finance and the Town Council.

"There's still a lot of questions from the Board of Finance, a lot of questions in their minds over whether to do it ourselves instead of bringing in an outside company," Vavrek said. "I think that's what they're looking at mainly."

The Town Council has also been doing its homework on the lengthy contract proposal. Vavrek said the town is looking into "low hanging fruit" that its employees can do themselves.

"In this economy, I kind of applaud them for looking into this," Vavrek said. "They are definitely doing their due diligence." 

jim laguardia February 07, 2013 at 08:03 PM
one needs a good roof over their heads to use social media all day
Alex February 07, 2013 at 08:13 PM
As much as I cringe at more bonding. This is a school roof we're talking about here. It's simply not optional. If this roof should have been replaced 10 years ago according to standards then it would seem that we've gotten our moneys worth, and should have been saving at least something for 10 years by putting this off. Ludlowe high school down in Fairfield had part of their roof leak/collapse last week. Now those students are missing 2 weeks of school. We don't need that kind of complication here because we decide to push our luck. Thank you superintendent Agostine for at least trying to see if it could have been lumped with the honeywell deal. It was certainly worth a try.
James Wadsworth February 07, 2013 at 08:30 PM
The bottom line is the roof needs to be fixed. I don't like bonding for it but with the Honeywell plan in limbo, there seems to be no other viable option.
Bill Bittar February 07, 2013 at 10:02 PM
The article has been updated with new information.
Steve Kirsch February 08, 2013 at 09:12 AM
Alex, The town has budgeted $75k this fiscal year for a town-wide facilities and usage study which is now in the RFP stage. This grew out of a need identified by the CIFAP committee. This is not a BOE expenditure, but will include the school buildings as well as every other town building. The Town Council will be reviewing the RFP at its next meeting. The RFP was discussed at the BOE because when the study is complete it will provide much needed detailed information for the BOE to use going forward. The BOE also discussed the need to move forward on the repair of the Fawn Hollow roof on its own (but with the expected support of the BOF for bonding) because there does not appear to be any movement on the major “Honeywell Project”. The BOE agreed to have its staff write an RPF for the repair work so that they could get costs for two possible solution designs. There is no additional cost for BOE staff to write the RPF, but there will be a cost to have some company do the actual design work. If the Honeywell contract is not dead, then Mr. Vavrek will have to put the debt service in his proposed budget so we will know the real story on Monday night (Feb 11).


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