By Beth Barhydt
In the final step forward for financing, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) has approved the $112 million price tag for the construction of Central Middle School (CMS). The vote was held on Monday at a special meeting, marking a pivotal moment for the project which began less than two years ago after the emergency closure of the school due to structural problems.
The RTM vote was overwhelmingly in favor, with 179 members supporting the funding request, four opposing, and two abstaining. Alongside the CMS construction budget, the RTM also approved a separate $750,000 appropriation and bonding for soil remediation at Greenwich High School.
With the RTM’s green light, the town has cleared a critical hurdle. Tony Turner, Chair of the Building Committee for Central Middle School (CMSBC) told us that, “Getting to the landslide vote in the RTM was quite a challenge as well as the BET before that.”
Voices from multiple town representatives hailed the decision as a testament to collaborative efforts and a commitment to the community’s educational future.
Fred Camillo, lauding the collective efforts of the community, expressed, “Hats off to the CMS Building Committee, the Board of Education, BET, and RTM as well as everyone who advocated for the project, attended the meetings, and contributed in different ways to the approval of the various boards, commissions, and legislative bodies. Your collective efforts will be a testament to you and benefit all who enter the new school’s doors in the years and decades ahead. The Town is proud of you all and eagerly awaits the next phase of what will be a state of the art middle school.”
Joe Kelly, reflecting on his term with the Board of Education (BOE), expressed, “Overwhelming YES for CMS. I am so happy I could be a part of the team that brought us to this point. This will be a school the entire town will be proud of for years to come. As my BOE term ends, I am relegated from the sidelines to the bleachers and will continue to cheer on the great work of our many volunteers until the students are sitting in their desks in the new CMS.”
Dan Ozizmir, Chair of the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET), emphasized the project’s rapid progression and fiscal responsibility. “ Two weeks from getting municipal improvement status, this project has been fully funded. While it has been challenging, a $112 million project is bound to have disagreements along the way when taxpayer money is involved. We can all be proud of the speed with which this project was funded as well as the rigor it was subjected to so that we can move forward with confidence.”
The project’s endorsement and funding come swiftly after the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) showed support by convening a special meeting to push the project forward. The funding of approximately $340 million of capital over a three-year period is, in itself, a record, doubling any prior capital budget.
Turner outlined the project’s roadmap. “Next steps are to finish with construction documents in the spring and bid the project in the summer of 2024. The full funding vote will now enable us to keep the building timeline on track with student occupation targeted for August 2026.”