Letter: Progress on New Leb School Construction
To the Editor:
The New Lebanon Building Committee writes this letter to update the public at large on the status of the new New Lebanon School building project.
The Committee has been working diligently since its formation in June 2015 to ensure that this Project is run well. To date we have held over eighty public meetings and have successfully overcome the many hurdles presented throughout this process. The project is shovel ready and we are excited to move ahead to bidding the project and actual construction.
We have a great team which consists of members from the Board of Education, the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Estimate and Taxation, the Representative Town Meeting (Public Works and Education delegates), the Department of Public Works, the Inlands Wetlands and Watercourses Agency, and the Planning and Zoning Commission. Expertise includes a construction manager, a civil engineer, four architects, and three attorneys.
Our hired architect is with TSKP Studio and our construction manager is Gilbane, who are seasoned professionals and are well versed in educational construction. The architects and the entire design team have deep experience in designing a school building and campus that maximizes an effective learning environment and also complements the surrounding site.
We thought it would be helpful to communicate directly to the public to ensure that accurate information about the Project is distributed to the public at large. The current New Lebanon Elementary School building has been persistently overcrowded and has many insufficiently sized common spaces (media center/library, cafeteria, art, music, gymnasium, etc.), which are well below Greenwich Public Schools’ standards. The new school’s size is driven not by classrooms, but rather by the need to bring the common spaces up to the District’s standard sizes. The new building will not exceed those standards and there are no extra classrooms. In fact, the footprint and size of this building are smaller than the last two elementary school projects—Glenville and Hamilton Avenue. The children, teachers, and staff acutely need this long overdue proper and standard facility.
The project budget remains at $37.3 million, with appropriate contingencies. With expected levels of state funding, the project will cost the Greenwich taxpayers $14 million. We are hopeful that the new school building will be ready for occupancy in August 2018.
On the local level, we are pleased to report that this project has gained the technical and construction approvals of all relevant town boards, commissions, agencies, and departments. Every relevant state legislative committee has approved it, i.e., School Construction Priority List Review (1/25), Education (3/24), and Finance, Revenue & Bonding (4/27). It awaits the approval of the General Assembly and the Governor’s signature as part of a unified package with dozens of other school projects.
The project details are completely open and accessible to all. We provide quarterly reports to the RTM which are also publicly available. Project information including meeting notices, agendas, and minutes is available on the project web site (www.tinyurl.com/NewLebBC). If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the Chairman, Stephen Walko or other New Lebanon Building Committee members (see web site for information).
We thank the many people who have supported this important Project from the town boards, governing bodies, and organizations, to all of the residents. A special thanks is owed to our Greenwich Legislators—Reps. Bocchino, Camillo, Floren, and Sen. Frantz—who have worked vigorously to move state funding approvals along throughout this multi-year process.
The Committee and the design team are ready for construction to begin. Again, thank you for everyone’s efforts and support for this important town project.
The New Lebanon Building Committee