Naugatuck High School Renovation Process Update – 11/22/2011

Posted by Bob on November 22, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Be the First to Comment

Borough Comptroller and Board of Education Business Manager issued the following information clarifying the process moving forward with regard to the Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New project:

“The Building Committee has published an RFQ and fee proposal (request for qualifications) for the submission by architectural firms to design the project. The RFQ submissions are due on November 30, 2011. The Borough Purchasing Agent will open the proposals, review them for completeness and submit them to the Building Committee. A subcommittee of the Building Committee will meet on the 30th to review the submissions and select four firms to be interviewed by the full committee on December 7, 2011. Subsequent to the interviews and presentations of the four firms the committee will select one firm. It is expected that the committee will perform a due diligence review of the selected firm. If everything is in order to the satisfaction of the full committee that firm will be presented for approval by the Borough Board at a special meeting of the Borough Board on December 14, 2011.

Once approved, the selected firm will begin the process of document and design preparation for submission to the state for approval. The state reviews all aspects of the project to ensure that it meets Building Code requirements, Health and Safety requirements, ADA requirements etc.

The application for this project allows the state’s review team to schedule sufficient time to review the multitude of documents required for this project. One component of the review process will be for the state to determine the eligible and ineligible costs for the project. Eligible costs are those costs that are reimbursable by the state. The estimate of reimbursable costs will be known upon completion of the final document review. Final reimbursement will be determined after the state audit of the completed project.”

Mr. McAllister is also a member of the Building Committee.

Naugatuck High School Referendum Passes – 11/8/2011

Posted by Bob on November 8, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | 6 Comments to Read

Unofficial Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New Referendum totals, including absentee ballots, are as follows:

  • Yes – 1777
  • No –    947

Five (5) ballots are being hand-handed and one (1) absentee ballot was rejected.

Documents from Public Hearing – 10/27/2011

Posted by Bob on October 27, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Read the First Comment

The following, financial documents were distributed at the Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New public hearing which took place last evening (10/26/2011):

Our Finance Department, led by Comptroller Wayne McAllister, chose to present a conservative plan based on a $30 Million local cost rather than the optimal figure of approximately TWENTY FIVE MILLION and 00/100THS ($25,000,000.00) DOLLARS after state reimbursement (which would maximize the 75% state reimbursement on all eligible portions of the proposed renovation).  The $37 Million plan represents a worst-case scenario, if the state grants no waivers on the square footage / school population guidelines.

Microsoft Excel versions of the debt management plans for $30 Million and $37 Million, with supporting graphs, can be accessed here.  An itemized list of the Borough’s existing debt obligations, including maturity dates, can be viewed here.

The proposed project is subject to approval at public referendum to authorize bonding, said referendum to take place on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.  Polls open at the Naugatuck Train Station / Historical Society Museum at 6:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM on said date.

Costs of Naugatuck High School Renovation Plan – 10/12/2011

Posted by Bob on October 12, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Be the First to Comment

Some of the most frequently asked questions associated with the Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New proposal surrounds the impact of the plan on Naugatuck taxpayers.  If the project is approved at public referendum scheduled for November 8, 2011, the renovations will be financed initially through bond anticipation notes and ultimately by general obligation bonds.  The debt management plan prepared by the Borough’s Comptroller can be viewed here.

The information in the table is a bit complex, but columns “A” “L” and “N” provide detailed projections regarding the impact on taxpayers.  The A column is the year in which the fiscal year ends. The L column indicates the amount of new debt service in a particular year relative to the Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New project. The N column shows the net impact to the Borough’s outstanding debt service as the project becomes due and other debt obligations are retired.

The construction phase of the project would be financed through bond anticipation notes, which are described as  “a short-term interest bearing security issued in the anticipation of larger future bond issues.” (Investopedia.com).  Similar to common terms of a conventional construction mortgage, the Borough would pay primarily interest only on the notes during the construction phase of the project.  Municipal bond anticipation notes usually have a term of no more than two (2) years, but can be refinanced into a second (2nd) series of notes.  If the referendum is approved, it is expected that the construction period for renovations would be approximately three (3) years, beginning in the Fall of 2012.

Once construction is complete, bond anticipation notes are converted to fixed general obligation bonds.  The debt management plan shows that initial repayment of general obligation bonds would begin in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.  As a result of other debt retiring during repayment, the debt management plan projects that the greatest net impact of debt service payments associated with the Naugatuck High School renovate-as-new project in any given year would be FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY NINE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED THREE and 00/100THS ($429,803.00) DOLLARS (in fiscal year 2017-2018 according to the table).  This projection does not assess the impact of any future bonding projects that could take place during the repayment period.

It is difficult to say what the exact tax implication is for each year because of unknown variables such as the value of the grand list (including the impact of revaluation), the amount of revenues and/or expenditures and the value of a mill in subsequent years.  For this year’s budget, one (1) mill equates to approximately ONE MILLION NINE HUNDRED FORTY THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED FORTY FIVE and 14/100THS ($1,943,145.14) DOLLARS.

A detailed explanation of the financial impact of the project will take place during the public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 6:30 PM, in the Naugatuck High School Auditorium (543 Rubber Avenue, Naugatuck, CT 06770).  The public hearing will begin with a tour of the high school followed by a presentation and public participation.

Naugatuck High School Renovation Question and Answers

Posted by Bob on September 27, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Be the First to Comment

Naugatuck voters will be asked to vote on a bond authorization to completely renovate Naugatuck High School (“NHS”) on November 8, 2011.  Undoubtedly, residents have many questions regarding the project.  The following is list of questions and answers that attempts to provide as much information as possible about the project:

What is the purpose of the NHS Renovate-as-New Project?

The purpose of the project is to completely renovate NHS to modern educational and architectural standards.  A 2007 Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc. study described deficiencies in the core infrastructure at the high school. The study referenced numerous settlement cracks, masonry and joint deficiencies and support issues that were in need of address.  In addition to the items referenced in the Kaestle Boos analysis, several other areas of the high school will need to be repaired in the coming years.  Health, safety, building and Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) accessibility code compliance improvements are needed throughout the building, including but not limited to classrooms, corridors, locker rooms and the auditorium. Many windows and frames need to be replaced with the corresponding paint removal. Poorly drained athletic and marching band fields and spectators walking on the same pool deck with swimmers have been problems for many years.  The “Renovate-as-New” Project would completely repair and refurbish all aspects of NHS.

What is the difference between Renovate-as-New and New Construction?

The concept of Renovate-as-New is to completely refurbish an existing school facility to modern standards and codes. The process is an alternative, in this case less expensive, to building a new school at the same or different site.  The State of Connecticut recently reduced Naugatuck’s reimbursement rate for new school construction from seventy five (75%) percent to sixty five (65%) percent.  The Borough’s reimbursement rate for renovation projects remains seventy five (75%) percent.

All systems have to be designed and certified for a twenty (20) year, life cycle to qualify for a “Renovate-as-New” project. In addition, the legislation that governs the “Renovate-as-New” process requires that a municipality and/or school district prove that the renovation is less expensive than building a new facility in order to qualify for full reimbursement.

What is the cost of the NHS Renovate-as-New Project?

The Joint Board of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses (“Joint Boards”) authorized the Borough to bond EIGHTY MILLION NINE HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED EIGHTY TWO and 00/100THS  ($80,983,582.00) DOLLARS.  That would be the maximum amount that a Building Committee could spend on the project without further authorization from the Joint Boards.  The Borough’s cost, after state reimbursement, would range from TWENTY FOUR MILLION NINE HUNDRED THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWO and 38/100THS ($24,934,702.38) DOLLARS and THIRTY SEVEN MILLION FOUR HUNDRED SIXTEEN THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED FORTY TWO and 09/100THS ($37,416,942.09) DOLLARS.

What is state reimbursement?

The State of Connecticut reimburses municipalities a certain percentage for costs associated with school building projects.  The reimbursement rates for specific towns are determined by a formula based on various socio-economic indicators.  The state does not reimbursement every repair, renovation and/or construction at the same rate.  Some costs are not eligible for reimbursement while others only received a portion of the maximum reimbursement percentage.  The state also reduces reimbursement rates if a facility is larger, based on square footage and population projections, than state guidelines.  Towns may request a waiver from the reduction in full state reimbursement if square footage limits exceed student projections.

Why is there a big fluctuation between the Borough’s local portion of the cost?

NHS current footprint exceeds the State of Connecticut’s square footage guidelines of approximately 236,635 square feet based on student population projections over the next eight (8) years.  The structures at NHS total about 304,181 square feet.  This would reduce Naugatuck’s reimbursement rate from seventy five (75%) percent to approximately fifty eight (58%) percent.  Naugatuck would have to seek a waiver of that reduction from state officials.  A reduction in state reimbursement would also apply if the Borough constructed a new high school of similar size.  A school construction and/or renovation project must be approved by public referendum before a municipality can apply for a waiver from any deviation from state square footage requirements.

How long would the NHS Renovate-as-New Project take to complete?

If the bond is authorized at the November 8, 2011, referendum, it is estimated that construction would not begin until the Fall of 2012.  Construction is scheduled to be completed by the Fall of 2015.

How are payments on bonds made?

The permanent construction bonds would not become due and payable until the project is complete.

How would the project be financed during construction?

The project would be financed during the construction phase using bond anticipation notes.  It it anticipated that the bond anticipation notes will be structured so that primarily interest will be paid during the construction phase of the project.

What is a bond anticipation note?

According to Investopedia.com, a bond anticipation note is “a short-term interest bearing security issued in the anticipation of larger future bond issues.”  Further explanation states that “Bond anticipation notes are smaller, short-term bonds issued by governments and corporations.  Knowing that the proceeds of the larger future issue will cover the anticipation notes, the issuing bodies use the notes as short-term financing.”  (www.investopedia.com)

How much more in taxes will this mean to the average homeowner?

If the referendum is approved, the Borough’s obligations to repay the bonds will increase gradually throughout the construction cycle.  While it is impossible to know all the other factors associated that determine the Borough’s mill rate, the following documents provide an analysis of the costs associated with the NHS renovation project:

Debt Management Plan – NHS Project Plan Costs;

Existing and Proposed Debt Service / Debt Management Plan – NHS Renovation Project; and

Existing and Proposed Debt Service / Annual Change in Debt Service including NHS Renovation Project.

What would the interest rates associated with the bond financing?

The current interest rates for the municipal bonds is approximately three and one half (3 1/2%) percent.  The actual interest rate on the project would not be fixed until construction is completed.

What is the Borough of Naugatuck’s bond rating?

The Borough of Naugatuck’s municipal bond rating for general obligation bonds is currently AA-.  Both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s upgraded the Borough’s bond rating from A+ to AA- in 2010.  The Standard and Poor’s 2010 Summary for the Borough of Naugatuck’s general obligation bonds can be viewed here.

What is a municipal bond rating?

A municipal bond rating assesses the credit worthiness of a municipality.  It is commonly compared as the municipal equivalent of a personal credit score.

What is the current status of the Borough’s bonded indebtedness?

The Borough’s bonded indebtedness is relatively low at the current time.  A list of outstanding obligations and their respective maturity date can be viewed here.

Would NHS remain operational during the construction?

Yes.  Construction will be completed in phases.  If the bond is authorized at the November 8, 2011, referendum, NHS will remain a functioning high school during construction. The Building Committee, design team, construction manager and school officials will jointly discuss and develop a plan so the school can function with minimal disruption during the renovations.  Flexible space will allow administration to offer the same curriculum that the current schedule provides. Fall athletics would likely be disrupted for one (1) season while athletic fields are being repaired and renovated. Previous renovations to fields in the late 1980′s relocated certain Fall sports competitions to Breen South and Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.  An exact plan for the one (1) Fall season will be determined.

Would there be shortened schedules during the renovation?

No.  NHS will remain a functioning high school on full schedule during construction.

Will there be enough space in NHS to accommodate the renovation and operate on full schedule?

Yes.  There will be sufficient flexibility with regard to space to accommodate the renovation and operate on full schedule.

Would freshman sports be eliminated?

No.  Freshman sports will not be eliminated during the renovation period.  Freshman sports were not eliminated during the previous renovation to the athletic fields which took place in the late 1980′s.

Would portable classrooms be used?

No.  Portable classrooms will not be needed during the renovation.  NHS will remain a functioning high school during construction.  Adequate space currently exists and will remain during the renovation as a result of flexible space.

What are the educational benefits of the Renovate-as-New Project?

Educational specifications have been drafted over the course of several months. Former administrator Carl Trombley was commissioned to lead a team of educational officials in creating specifications for a building most conducive to a twenty-first (21st) century, learning facility.  Many of the classrooms do not have the technological infrastructure to support large-scale wireless communications and “smart-board” technology.  Many still use the traditional blackboards. A complete renovation would upgrade the technology itself within classrooms and common learning areas.  The new classrooms will provide the capacity to allow computer and online learning to flourish as technology advances.  In addition, there are plans to install such learning environments as a greenhouse, a child-development center and upgraded music and drama facilities in various locations in the building.

What will happen to recently completed upgrades at NHS?

Certain repairs and upgrades have been made to NHS during recent years such as the installation of solar panels on the roof, addition to the cafeteria, renovated science labs and restoration of the auditorium.  Any such repairs that have been made will not be redone during the renovation.  Any recently repaired and/or new item will remain intact provided there is code compliance.  Recently renovated science (biology) labs and the cafeteria comply with applicable codes.  There may be additional work required to facilitate new mechanical, electrical and sprinkler systems.  See individual items below.

Did we not just install a new roof at NHS with solar panels?

Yes.  The solar panels are functioning well and returning power to the grid.  The solar panels will remain and very little work is needed on the NHS roof that is not related to chimneys and/or the connection to the masonry.  The roof warranty currently in place will need to be extended.  A waiver may be sought due to the fact that the roof and corresponding solar panels were only installed a few years ago.

Did we not just renovate the Davis Auditorium?

Yes, to a degree.  Local, state and community dollars helped to replace the seats and some floor tiles in the auditorium and renovate the adjacent restrooms.  All of these recent repairs and/or additions will remain.  There are still, however, several issues that were not address due to cost.  The auditorium does not presently comply with Americans with Disability (“ADA”) code and egress requirements.  In order to qualify a Renovate-as-New project, an entire school must comply with all the applicable code requirements.  It is planned that the auditorium layout will change and its seating capacity will be reduced.  Recently installing seating will be removed and re-installed in a new layout.  It is planned that a new sprinkler system will be installed.  It is also planned that the state sound system and theatrical lighting will be refurbished.

How will the proposed renovation impact the seating capacity of the Davis Auditorium?
If the referendum is approved, it is anticipated that the seating capacity of the Davis Auditorium will be reduced from approximately nine hundred fifty (950) to approximately six hundred seventy four (674), which will include four (4) handicapped-accessible seats.

Did we not just renovate new science labs?

Yes.  Certain science labs that were renovated will not need to be replaced.  Chemistry labs have not been recently renovated.

Did we not just complete an addition to the cafeteria?

Yes.  The recent addition to the cafeteria meets applicable codes.  Some changes have been requested pursuant to the educational specifications, but it is anticipated that most of the work recently completed will remain.

Did we not just add new lockers to the Sophomore (Goodyear) House?

Yes.  New lockers that have been recently installed will remain and/or be reused once the renovation project is completed.

Will the houses be reconfigured?

Educational specifications were drafted by school administrators and approved by the Board of Education.  The educational specifications can be viewed here.  While certain classrooms and disciplines will be relocated into more convenient and educationally consistent areas, the three (3) main houses – Freshman (Castle), Sophomore (Goodyear) and Junior/Senior (Judd) will remain.

Will the names of various components of NHS change?

No.  All current names shall be retained.  For example: The Davis Auditorium will remain the Davis Auditorium and the Mariano Gym will remain the Mariano Gym.

Will there be additional parking spaces at NHS?

No.  The amount of land at NHS will not change and there will be no additional parking spaces of any significance added.

Will there be better traffic flow?

Yes.  A bus loop will be created that should allow buses to exit the building in less than five (5) minutes.  A visitor pick-up / drop-off area has been proposed with separate access points from the bus loop.  A second and safe means of vehicular egress is proposed for the Eastern exit.

Is there any asbestos remaining in NHS?

All areas of NHS will be tested and all hazardous material identified, including asbestos, will be removed.

Will sprinkler systems be installed and/or updated if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Yes.  If the referendum is approved, fire sprinkler systems will be installed and/or brought to applicable codes in all areas of the building structure.

Will air conditioning be installed if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Air conditioning currently exists in the Sophomore (Goodyear) House, Freshman (Castle) House, Resource Center and other isolated areas of NHS.  The Building Committee will investigate installing air conditioning to all areas of NHS.  The educational specifications approved by the Board of Education include the installation of air conditioning to all structural areas of NHS.  The addition of air conditioning will be considered as an alternate and incorporated depending on the bid results.

Will new windows be installed if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Yes.  New, insulated glass windows will be installed as well as the frames that support the windows.

Will renovations improve energy efficiency if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Yes.  State of Connecticut school facility requirements mandate that all projects exceeding FIVE MILLION and 00/100THS ($5,000,000.00) DOLLARS comply with “high performance” building standards.  Part of such compliance requirements includes installation of energy efficiency systems throughout a structure as well as the use of certain recycled materials.

Will any changes be made to the NHS Resource Center if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Yes.  The NHS Resource Center is relatively large for a modern media facility.  If the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum, the square footage of the Resource Center would be reduced and excess space will be made available for light-appropriate art classrooms.

Are there any other new features that would be created if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Yes.  It is anticipated that if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum, an outdoor greenhouse, child development area with play-scape, natatorium (swimming observatory area), new administrative offices, security features, state-of-the-art auditorium, state-of-the art music rooms and fitness center/dance studio/weight room will be created using new and/or renovated space.

Is it possible to install generators at NHS that would allow for better sheltering during emergency situations if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Yes.  If the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum, the Building Committee will investigate if generator power can be installed to certain areas of NHS.  While it might be impractical and cost-prohibitive to provide alternative power to all of NHS, it is anticipated that the Building Committee will research if certain areas could be equipped with generator power to increase sheltering options.  It is anticipated that the Building Committee will also investigate possible, alternative financing sources for generator power from emergency management agencies on the state and federal level.

Will security be addressed at NHS?

Yes.  The proposed renovation includes relocating the main offices from the back of the building to the front by enclosing the patio.  The main entrance and all other access points of entry and exit will be equipped with modern means of security verification technology.

Has the possibility of building a new high school been researched?

Yes.  The Long Term School Facility Planning Committee researched multiple scenarios involving a new high school.  It was determined that building a new high school was not a good option for the following reasons: (i) cost; (ii) the lack of available land that was did not have the potential to generate commercial tax revenue; and (iii) building a new high school with the current square footage of NHS would exceed state guidelines and likely reduce the reimbursement rate to the Borough.  The following are the cost projections for five (5) different options:

What is the Long Term School Facility Planning Committee?

The Long Term School Facility Planning Committee (“LTSFPC”) is an ad-hoc group appointed by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses.  The Committee’s charge is to formulate a facilities plan for the Naugatuck School District that can be implemented by the year 2025.  The Mission Statement of the LTSFPC can be viewed here.  In addition to the recommendations made regarding the NHS renovations, the LTSFPC is researching options for the Kindergarten through Eight Grade (“K-8″) portion of Naugatuck’s School District.  The members of the LTSFPC can be viewed here.

Why did the LTSFPC recommend renovations to NHS before completing the entire plan for the K-8 portion of the District?

The LTSFPC researched the significant needs required at NHS.  After determining that building a new high school was not the best option, the LTSFPC researched the renovate-as-new concept.  It was ultimately decided that pursuing a renovation of NHS was the appropriate beginning of implementing improvements to the entire district.

What would it cost to just complete needed structural repairs and code compliance?

Unless ignoring the asset is an option, work will need to be done to maintain NHS.  Numerous settlement cracks, masonry and joint deficiencies and support issues need to be repaired.  Health, safety, building and Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) accessibility code compliance improvements are needed throughout the building, including but not limited to classrooms, corridors, locker rooms and the auditorium. Many windows and frames need to be replaced with the corresponding paint removal.  It is estimated that the cost of such basic repairs could costs approximately FORTY SIX MILLION and 00/100THS ($46,000,000.00) DOLLARS.  It is estimated that the cost to the Borough for such repairs would be approximately TWENTY TWO MILLION and 00/100THS ($22,000,000.00) DOLLARS as many of these items are not reimbursed at the highest level if at all.

Can the Borough choose not to do all of the proposed repairs and just concentrate on the basics?

Yes.  Ultimately the scope of the repairs will be determined by the Building Committee.  If renovate-as-new project status is granted, a municipality is basically telling the State of Connecticut that the renovated facility is likely to function as an educational institution for the next twenty (20) years.  Pursuant to that requirement, a Renovate-as-New project must ensure that a facility meets compliance standards for ADA accessibility and ingress/egress as well as “High Performance” building standards.  If a choice is made to exclude particular items during the renovate-as-new process, a town may not return within a twenty (20) year period and receive any state reimbursement for such a repair and/or addition.  Therefore if a particular portion of work is not included in the renovation, Naugatuck would be required to pay for such a repair in the future without any state reimbursement for a twenty (20) year period.

Can the Borough choose to complete the renovate-as-new project without including the renovations to the athletic fields?

The Borough can choose to complete a Renovate-as-New project without including certain aspects of the currently-proposed project provided that it meets compliance standards for ADA accessibility and ingress/egress as well as “High Performance” building standards.  If the athletic fields are excluded, however, the Borough could not complete future repairs to said fields and receive any state reimbursement within the next twenty (20) years.

Can the Borough choose to complete the renovate-as-new project without including the renovations to the auditorium?

The Borough can choose to complete a Renovate-as-New project without including certain aspects of the currently-proposed project provided that it meets compliance standards for ADA accessibility and ingress/egress as well as “High Performance” building standards.  If the auditorium is excluded, however, the Borough could not complete future repairs to said auditorium and receive any state reimbursement within the next twenty (20) years.  Because the auditorium does not currently meet ADA accessibility and ingress/egress as well as “High Performance” building standards, the Borough would need to address such issues to be granted Renovate-as-New status is granted.

Can the Borough choose to complete the renovate-as-new project without including the renovations to the pool?

The Borough can choose to complete a Renovate-as-New project without including certain aspects of the currently-proposed project provided that it meets compliance standards for ADA accessibility and ingress/egress as well as “High Performance” building standards.  If the pool/natatorium is excluded, however, the Borough could not complete future repairs to said auditorium and receive any state reimbursement within the next twenty (20) years.  Because the auditorium does not currently meet ADA accessibility and ingress/egress as well as “High Performance” building standards and requires new sprinkler systems, the Borough would need to address such issues to be granted Renovate-as-New status is granted.

Can the Borough choose to complete the renovate-as-new project without including the renovations to the locker rooms?

Yes.  If the locker rooms are excluded, however, the Borough could not complete future repairs to said locker rooms and receive any state reimbursement within the next twenty (20) years.  If no locker room additions are done, then existing locker spaces must be brought to compliance with ADA accessibility and ingress/egress as well as “High Performance” building standards and will require new sprinkler systems so that the project can be designated with Renovate-as-New status.

Why are the Board of Education offices being relocated to NHS?

There are multiple reasons.  Relocation the Board of Education (“BoE”) administrative office will help reduce the amount of square footage available at NHS that is over the state guidelines.  The current footprint of NHS is approximately three hundred four thousand one hundred eighty one (304,181 ft 2) square feet, while state guidelines recommend a school of approximately two hundred thirty six thousand six hundred thirty five (236,635 ft 2) square feet based on Naugatuck’s population projections over the next eight (8) years.  The state would reimburse Naugatuck approximately thirty seven and one half (37.5%) percent for renovations associated with relocating the BoE offices to NHS.   In addition, the Tuttle building presents logistical and technological obstacles to conducting modern office functions.  Lastly, relocating the BoE offices to NHS would improve communication between administrative staff, particularly with regard to special education.

If the BoE offices are relocated to NHS, what would happen to the Tuttle Building?

The Long Term School Facility Planning Committee has been charged with recommending a suitable re-purpose for any closed educational facility.  Roof repairs are currently needed at Tuttle.  The Tuttle property itself is currently restricted by deed, but could likely serve another municipal and/or public use.  The cost of any repairs needed could vary depending on how closely the Borough would like to replicate the original condition of the building.

If Naugatuck voters approve the bond authorization at referendum, who would oversee the design and construction of the renovations?

A Building Committee has been appointed by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses to oversee the design and construction of the NHS renovations.  The duties of the Building Committee would include but not be limited to: procuring an architectural design firm; overseeing the design of the project; determining the scope of the project; oversee the procurement of a construction manager; ensure educational needs are included in the design and implemented during construction; manage the budget with Borough Finance staff; and determine any change orders to the original design.

Who is on the Building Committee?

The Building Committee is comprised of the five (5) standing members of the Borough’s Five (5) Year Capital Committee and two (2) representatives representing education in our District.  The members are as follows:

  • Robert Neth, Chair – Burgess and Chair of Five (5) Year Capital Committee;
  • Cynthia Herb – Member of Five (5) Year Capital Committee and former Chair of the Board of Finance;
  • Kevin Knowles – Member of the Five (5) Year Capital Committee; Former State Representative and Former Deputy Mayor;
  • Raymond Lennon – Member of the Five (5) Year Capital Committee and Former Chair of the Board of Finance;
  • Wayne McAllister – Member of the Five (5) Year Capital Committee, Borough Comptroller and BoE Business Manager;
  • Charles Marenghi – Borough Educator and Vice-President of the Naugatuck Teachers League;
  • Janice Saam – Principal of Naugatuck High School.

All members of the Building Committee are Naugatuck residents.

Would local residents have the opportunity to work on the project?

Yes.  State and federal law dictate wage guidelines on large public projects, including school constructions and renovations. The Building Committee would have the option to consider any additional options that would provide preference to local workers.

How many jobs will be created by the proposed Renovate-as-New project?

Typically a project of the size and magnitude proposed will create between one hundred (100) and one hundred fifty (150) jobs.

What is the Five (5) Year Capital Committee?

The Five (5) Year Capital Committee is the committee appointed by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses to oversee bond projects in the Borough.  The Borough’s bond counsel provides professional assistance and instruction in compliance with legal requirements and proper accounting procedures.

Who is the architectural firm that has completed the initial services required to proceed with the NHS Renovate-as-New Project?

Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc.

How will the architectural firm be selected if the referendum is approved?

The Building Committee will issue a request for qualifications (“RFQ”) seeking an architectural firm for the entire project.

What are the renovations that would not be eligible for full, state reimbursement (75%) even if a waiver of the square footage requirements is successful?

The following project components are not eligible for full, state reimbursement (with maximum reimbursement levels):

  • Athletic Field Reconstruction (only 37.5% of approximately $3,177,057.00);
  • Synthetic Surface (0.0% of approximately $778,455.00);
  • Pool Natatorium (only 37.5% of approximately $3,094,816.00);
  • Portion of Indirect Costs (0.0% of approximately $1,381,062.00).

What are “Indirect Costs”?

According to the architects itemized projections, Indirect Costs are as follows:  Bond expenses, Survey/Design, Geo Tech Services, Third (3rd) Party Structural Review; Moving and Storage; Zoning and Wetlands; Traffic Study; Abatement Testing/Inspection; Construction Testing; Printing/Advertising; Commissioning; Final Cleaning; Miscellaneous; Builders Risk; Legal Fees; Furniture and Technology; and Architecture and Engineering Fees.

Why is a synthetic grass surface needed for field reconstruction?

Most high schools being built in Connecticut include at least one (1) synthetic grass surface for football and soccer use (Watertown most recently). Some high schools have installed synthetic grass surfaces completely separate from school construction and/or renovations (Wolcott, Pomperaug and Cheshire).  Synthetic grass surfaces allow constant play regardless of weather conditions and reduce the need for pesticides, fertilizer and water.  A quality and consistent playing surface at NHS will permit procuring regional and state events which produce both direct revenue to the school district and indirect revenue to the community.  It is anticipated that the installation of a synthetic surface will allow more frequent use by youth soccer, football and marching band groups.

Where would the synthetic surface be?

The synthetic grass field would be installed at the current location of the football field.  Both soccer and football games would be played on the upper field.  Handicapped-accessible seating would be installed to the grandstand, and visitor bleachers enhanced.  It is anticipated that an eight (8) lane track would be constructed around the soccer/football field.

Where would the baseball and softball fields be located?

The baseball field would be relocated to the Western side of the lower field (current soccer field) with home plate located approximately near the old Western ticket booth (that formerly served Mountview Plaza Traffic).  The new softball field would be installed at the Eastern portion of the lower field (current soccer field), with home plate located outside of the Southern end of the tennis courts.  Both the baseball and softball fields would have natural grass and clay surfaces.  It is anticipated that a multi-practice, natural grass practice field would overlap the outfields of the baseball and softball fields.

Would the drainage problems be resolved at both the upper and lower fields?

Yes.

What would happen to the upper, practice field?

The field would be renovated but remain natural grass.

What is a natatorium?

A natatorium is an observation area overlooking a swimming pool.

Why is a natatorium being proposed?

It is a violation of health and safety codes to have swimmers walking on a pool deck where spectators travel wearing street shoes.  The addition of a natatorium would allow spectators to observe pool meets without walking on the pool deck surface.

Would locker rooms be repaired?

Yes.  The current lockers rooms under the gym (boy’s locker rooms and weight rooms) contain numerous code violations, have poor ventilation and tight quarters.  If the referendum for the Renovate-as-New proposal is approved, the existing locker rooms in the lower floor will be completely abandoned and the area will not be accessible for any purpose.  It is anticipated that new locker rooms on the main level will be constructed.

Where would new locker rooms be located?

The women’s locker room would be renovated and new locker rooms would be constructed adjacent to the auxiliary (Girl’s) gym.

What would happen to the boys locker rooms currently located on the lower floor?

The space would be vacated and not accessible.

What renovations would be made to the NHS auditorium if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Any renovations made and/or new equipment installed during the Davis Auditorium Restoration Committee (“DARC”) process would be utilized.  Upgrades to the lighting and sound system and compliance with applicable health, safety and disability codes would be performed if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum.  In addition, it is anticipated that the auditorium’s lobby and entrance/exits points would be enhanced.

Would seating capacity be reduced in the auditorium?

Yes.  Seating capacity would be reduced in the auditorium if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum. Installation of handicapped-accessible seating would decrease the overall, seating capacity of the NHS auditorium. Seating capacity would still remain high for a high school of NHS’s size and accommodate academic specifications.

Would a renovated NHS still be available for use by the community if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum?

Yes.  It is anticipated that the opportunities for use of the NHS building and grounds by the entire community would be significantly enhanced if the NHS Renovate-as-New Project is approved at referendum.

Naugatuck High School Tour Schedule Announced

Posted by Bob on September 19, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Be the First to Comment

Residents wishing to tour Naugatuck High School prior to the November 8, 2011, renovation referendum may do so at the following dates and times:

  • Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 6:30 PM;
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 6:30 PM;
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 6:30 PM (scheduled Parent Conference day);
  • Thursday, October 20, 2011, 6:30 PM (scheduled Parent Conference day);
  • Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 6:30 PM (the Public Hearing will following);
  • Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 6:30 PM; and
  • Monday, November 7, 2011, 6:30 PM.

Tours will be conducted by representatives from Board of Education maintenance staff and/or representatives from Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc.  Administrators will be present for most tours to provide information and answer questions.  The tours will take approximately forty five (45) minutes to one (1) hour.  Additional information will follow is the same becomes available.

High School Renovate-as-New Presentation – 9/7/2011

Posted by Bob on September 7, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Be the First to Comment

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses voted eight (8) to one (1) Tuesday (9/6/2011) night to advance the proposed Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New Project to public referendum on November 8, 2011.  The PowerPoint presentation made at the meeting can be viewed (in .pdf format) on the Borough’s website (www.naugatuck-ct.gov) by accessing the following link:

http://www.naugatuck-ct.gov/filestorage/77/79/2547/2596/Naugatuck_HS_090611_Powerpoint_from_Kaestle_Boos_97-03_pdf_version_9-7-11.pdf

Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc. has provided a rough estimate of the cost of performing necessary repairs and various code compliance measures and the likely reimbursement rates from the state, which can be viewed here.

Additional information on the project will follow.

Virtual Tour of Naugatuck High School Renovation Proposal – 9/6/2011

Posted by Bob on September 6, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Be the First to Comment

A virtual tour of the outside building and grounds of the proposed Naugatuck High School Renovation Project is available on the Boroughs website and can be accessed at the following link:

http://www.naugatuck-ct.gov/filestorage/77/79/2547/2596/naugatuck01.wmv

The proposal, which will be discussed in detail at tonight’s (9/6/2011) meeting of the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, would ultimately require approval by Naugatuck voters at referendum.  Additional details discussed at the meeting will be posted in the coming days.

Naugatuck High School Renovate-As-New Proposal – 8/23/2011

Posted by Bob on August 23, 2011 under Daily Blogs, Naugatuck High School Renovation | Read the First Comment

On Thursday evening, members of Tri-Boards (Board of Education, Board of Finance and Mayor and Burgesses) will hear a presentation regarding the proposed Renovate-as-New project at Naugatuck High School.  For the past several months, local officials and educators have been reviewing options, costs and educational specifications associated with a complete renovation of the Borough’s flagship school.

Naugatuck High School (photo from Naugatuck Patch.com article)

Naugatuck High School (photo from previous Naugatuck Patch.com article)

Built in 1959, Naugatuck High School has housed generations of Naugatuck students.  Since the addition of 1974, the original footprint of the campus has remained relatively the same.  Many years of constant use, age and failure to make appropriate investments to maintain the infrastructure over time have taken its toll on the building. This past Winter placed renewed emphasis on a 2007 Kaestle Boos Associates, Inc. (“Kaestle Boos”) study which described deficiencies in the core infrastructure at the high school. The study referenced numerous settlement cracks, masonry and joint deficiencies and support issues that were in need of address.

In addition to the items referenced in the Kaestle Boos analysis, several other areas of the high school will need to be repaired in the coming years.  Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) and other code compliance improvements are needed throughout the building, including but not limited to classrooms, corridors, locker rooms and the auditorium. Many windows and frames need to be replaced with the corresponding paint removal. A drainage mess on the athletic and marching band fields and spectators walking on the same pool deck with swimmers have been problems for many years.

Several months ago, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses appointed a Long Term School Facility Planning Committee (“LTSFPC”, a membership list can be viewed here).  The purpose of the committee (see the Mission Statement here) is to analyse existing buildings and recommend the implementation of a district-wide facilities plan by 2025.  As the LTSFPC began its work, it was becoming increasingly apparent that significant investment would be needed at Naugatuck High School over the next couple years simply to maintain the asset and ensure a safe environment for students and faculty.  Members investigated the possibility of a new high school for the distant future, but the cost and the lack of suitable and/or affordable locations were major obstacles.  It was unanimously voted at the May 17, 2011, meeting to eliminate the recommendation of building a new high school from the Committee’s future proposals.

Simultaneously, staff members of the LTSFPC began to investigate the “renovate-as-new” concept as a potential alternative for Naugatuck High School.  The Watertown School District recently completed renovation projects at several schools, including its high school.  Several individuals associated with the LTSFPC and the Naugatuck School District toured Watertown High School on two (2) separate occasions.

Renovations of existing school facilities are discussed in Connecticut General Statutes Sections 10-282 et seq.  Rather than construct new buildings, the renovation process in Connecticut allows a school district to completely refurbish an existing educational facility provided the newly-renovated school will have a comparable life expectancy to a newly-constructed campus.  School districts receive reimbursement rates of various percentages on school bonds from the State of Connecticut depending on a series of economic indicators.  Up until recently, the Borough of Naugatuck’s reimbursement rates for both new construction and renovation was SEVENTY FOUR (74%) PERCENT for eligible costs.  Recently, however, Governor Dannel P. Malloy proposed and ultimately obtained legislative approval to reduce state reimbursement rates for new construction, while maintaining the percentages for school renovation projects.  The intent behind this legislation was to encourage communities to rehabilitate existing assets rather than construct new school facilities.  Essentially, Naugatuck’s reimbursement rate for construction has beed reduced to a percentage in the fifty’s (50′s), while reimbursement for renovate-as-new projects remains at SEVENTY FOUR (74%) PERCENT.

This factor, combined with several others, made the renovate-as-new concept attractive to the LTSFPC.  There will be significant costs associated with making all the individual repairs needed at the high school, some of which may not be eligible at such a high reimbursement rate.  The Borough’s bond rating was recently upgraded by Standard and Poor’s, and has relatively low bonded-indebtedness compared with other municipalities.  In addition, the construction market is at one of its lowest points in recent memory.  Given the state’s financial concerns and continued discussions regarding the potential for future reductions in aid to municipalities, it is likely that Naugatuck’s current reimbursement rate of SEVENTY FOUR (74%) PERCENT for renovations will never be higher.  Despite the current economic climate, all of these conditions indicate that the renovate-as-new project at the high school is in the best, long-term, financial interest of Borough taxpayers, parents and students.  The cost-benefits and value added of completing a comprehensive renovation that will restore our flagship school for a generation far outweigh tackling badly-needed repairs in a piecemeal manner.

The LTSFPC continues to analyze multiple options for the long-term vision of the K-8 grade configurations and facilities for the Naugatuck School District.  Multiple concepts continue to be reviewed from a cost, educational and quality of life perspective, including the potential for re-purposing existing assets that would no longer serve as traditional schools.  Members realize that preparing for the future of our school district for years to come is not an easy or quick process.  While examination and debate regarding the long-term composition of our entire district will continue for many months and involve opportunities for the public to participate, the Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New project is ready to be presented to the Borough’s decision-makers and our citizens.

As the LTSFPC has been investigating this concept, the Five (5) Year Capital Committee chaired by Burgess Bob Neth allocated previously incurred by unspent school bond dollars (fixed-term bonds on school projects that were completed under-budget) to engage Kaestle Boos for the preparation of the Naugatuck High School Renovate-As-New feasibility study.  Finance and educational staff have met over several months to review all the logistics and specifications associated with the process.  At the June meeting of the LTSFPC, it was unanimously recommended that the project be referred to the Five (5) Year Capital Committee for review.  A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 24, 2011, at 5:30 PM, to review the final documents and make a decision whether or not to recommend the project to the appropriate boards.

While no formal statutory or charter authority is given to the Tri-Boards, Thursday’s (8/25/2011, 6:00 PM, Naugatuck High School) meeting will be the first, formal opportunity for most of the members of the respective boards to hear the renovation project proposal in its entirety.  The schematic drawings and plans for Naugatuck High School can be viewed here and are currently on the borough’s website (www.naugatuck-ct.gov).  The meeting is open to the public, and a tour of Naugatuck High School will proceed the presentation.

The following documents provide detailed financial estimates regarding the project:

Cover Letter;

Pre-Design Estimate Summary;

Pre-Design Major Renovations;

Pre-Design Minor Renovations;

Pre-Design New Construction;

Pre Design Site Estimate; and

Pre-Design Board of Education Location.

There are still issues to further research regarding maximizing the eligible reimbursements for various items.  The state uses a reimbursement formula based on square footage and population projections that present certain challenges given the size of the Naugatuck High School buildings.  The proposal to relocate the Board of Education offices and meeting space to the high school are intended to take advantage of the highest reimbursement rates possible.  Local officials will continue to research the particulars and dynamics of this process with Kaestle Boos and state decision-makers.

Any action to proceed with a project of this scope must follow a specific process outlined by state statute.  The Board of Mayor and Burgesses must ultimately approve a bond referendum question, determine a date for referendum and appoint a formal building committee.  The Naugatuck Board of Education must approve the educational specifications.  While the Borough’s Charter is relatively silent on a specific process, it has always been custom to hold at least one (1) public hearing in advance of a referendum of such significant magnitude. While officials are hoping to prepare the project for a referendum on the statewide, municipal election day of Tuesday, November 8, 2011 (Naugatuck is one of a handful of municipalities that still holds municipal elections in May, and therefore does not currently have an election scheduled for November 8, 2011), there are several steps remaining before such a vote can be scheduled.  If approved by voters, it is anticipated that it would take approximately three (3) years from the start of construction to complete the entire renovation project.  During the phased construction process, Naugatuck High School would continue to operate as a functioning high school.

We look forward to all questions and comments that residents have regarding the Naugatuck High School Renovate-as-New Project and the process associated with it.  Additional information will continue to be made available to provide detailed information and answer various questions.  Please feel free to contact me at bob@bobmezzo.com or call the office at 203-720-7009, to discuss the project in greater detail.

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