Building Committee Adds $1.2M To High School Renovation

Project Still Under Budget; But Allowances For Furniture And Technology Are $1.2 Million Above "Allowance"

Tuesday night, the School Building Committee and the Board of Education unanimously approved $4.59 million for the technology and furniture budgets on the - $1.285 million than originally allowed for.

Superintendent Jerome Belair emphasized that overall the high school renovation was still $1.24 million below the authorized total of $68.362 million, although original bids on the project . The additional money will be used to outfit the existing high school with furniture and to make the school as technologically advanced as necessary, Belair said.

“At the beginning of this project, we had an allowance,” he said. “Now we have a real budget.”

The School Building Committee first approved the budget Tuesday night and then the Board of Education did the same at a special meeting later that night. Some of the money spent on the project will be recouped to the town through state reimbursement, according to Belair.

Furniture, Fixtures And Equipment Budget

The original “allowance” for furniture, fixtures and equipment on the high school project was $1.54 million, and now the town will be spending $2.06 million. The reason is largely because the original budget did not replace the furniture of the existing building, and now the town will replace all the furniture, Belair said.

Much of what will be the new Waterford High School will be a new building, and there was a budget for furniture for it, Belair said. However, some of the existing high school will be part of the finished product as well, and that will now have new furniture, he said.

The old furniture will either be sold, donated, disposed of or given to other town departments that need it, Belair said. The new furniture will be ergonomically correct, and is “what works for furniture in a modern classroom,” according to project architect Greg Smolley of JCJ Architecture.

“If you think it is hard buying furniture for your house, imagine buying furniture for a school with 100-plus rooms in it,” Smolley said.

Before, none of the work on the existing project received state reimbursement because the town did not apply for renovate-as-new status. and 34 percent of the money spent on the existing section could be reimbursed by the state, Belair said. The furniture for the new section is already being partially reimbursed by the state.


Originally the town budgeted for $1.769 million for technology on the high school project. Now, the town will spend $2.534 million.

The cost is almost all into infrastructure around the building to make the high school a completely wireless environment that can hold and handle the school’s expected users and the data associated with those users. Much of the cost is infrastructure, not laptops or other items, Belair said.

is to have no textbooks except online textbooks and to have students bringing in their own devices, Belair said. With that, students will be able to access work at any time from any place, he said.

To do that, the school’s network must be able to handle hundreds of users at once and be able to store the data produced by those users. The high school should be able to do that, Belair said.

Terry June 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Guess I cant complain since my son is starting high school in the fall. I wish they would have the opening at the end of August. Do you know when they will be moving in to the new school? I heard over February break and I heard over Christmas break.
David Irons June 20, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Just because the cost was below the amount approved is no reason to go out and spend that savings. Why can't we just accept that we saved some money on the construction and keep our budget and tax rate down? But no. There was money left over so they felt they had to spend it. Hell of a way to run a town especially when people are so strapped for money these days. Also just because the state will "partially reimburse" us for some of these costs is no reason to spend the money. The reimbursement is only "partial", not complete. We still pay some of it plus we pay state taxes to help pay for the "reimbursed" portion.
Foofaraw June 20, 2012 at 02:25 PM
They must have needed new couches and lazy boys for the teachers lounge.
Tim Fioravanti June 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM
The latest word was February.
Cheryl L June 20, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Mr Irons you hit the name on the head. I'm pretty sure the board of finance thought it was approving a budget for the project. That is probably why we had line by line spreadsheets for the project and its costs and discussed them at length. The board of finance was also assured when it debated the appropriateness of the project contingnecy that those in charge would watch the project expenditures like hawks. A little difficult to do once you have retired and when you become personally invested in the project.


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