Public Building Panel OKs Early Phase SHS Project Plans

Following an hourlong briefing by members of the Sandy Hook School Design Team on July 8, members of the Public Building and Site Commission unanimously approved accepting construction plans and cost estimates, and voted to forward those documents to the state for final approval.

The PBSC is serving as the School Building Committee on behalf of the town.

Ahead of the vote Tuesday evening, Geralyn Hoerauf of Diversified Project Management reminded officials that the Sandy Hook School project is being presented to state officials in phases to help expedite the development process. Project documents must be accepted and approved by the town’s School Building Committee before the state will accept them.

Ms Hoerauf explained how the first three phases of the construction process were packaged for approval. They included hazardous materials abatement and building demolition of the former school building, which were completed last fall.

The bulk of site improvements have also been defined, and she said the plan is to begin site improvements by this fall.

Julia McFadden of Svigals + Partners then reviewed a handful of modifications between schematic design to construction documents.

Ms McFadden noted that Riverside Road would be widened to accommodate increased traffic and to make the entrance to Dickinson Drive more conducive to the new traffic flow.

She said in the refining process, two additional public parking spaces were added bringing the lot capacity to 150 vehicles.

The design team leader discussed how much of the rainwater runoff from two wings of the building would flow into an underground storage tank that would then serve as irrigation for outdoor playing fields in the rear of the facility, while runoff from the remaining wing would filter into a smaller storage tank to irrigate the rain garden that spans the front of the building.

She noted that the center rear courtyard would be developed, and discussed the likelihood of fencing being installed along the tops of any retaining walls on site that are taller than 30 inches to discourage climbing or walking along the tops of those structures.

Ms McFadden then turned to reviewing Phase 4. She said the team continued to review particulars with Sandy Hook staff, and held a final review of maintenance and storage requirements with school officials.

The few adjustments to plans include the addition of a toilet to the library, adding utility shafts where required, and she reviewed exterior wall styles including the wood facing planned for the front of the building. The final major items presented were the choices of mechanical system for heating and air conditioning.

Following the review, the commissioners accepted the package of 125 drawings encompassing Phase 3 construction documents for submission to the state. Upon successful review, the state’s Office of School Facilities is expected to allow this phase to be released for bidding.

Commissioners then approved the Phase 3 Site Work 90 Percent Cost Estimate and moved the estimate to the state for review and approval. Next on the agenda was accepting the 183-page package of Phase 4 design documents, and moving those documents to the state.

The final motion was to accept the Phases 3 and 4 cost estimates, which permits the design team to proceed to the full construction document phase.

The meeting closed with a brief presentation by Newtown resident Joellen Lawson, founder of the Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools. She praised the design team for their willingness to listen to concerns about materials and other environmental concerns her organization wanted to highlight during the preconstruction and planning processes.

Ms Lawson also pledged the resources of her group to assist in the design and building process in any way.

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