The possibility of adding sprinklers and making other improvements to the Rocky Hill elementary schools were discussed at two town meetings Monday night. However, no action has been taken at this time and more discussion is expected in the upcoming weeks with the chance of presenting an about $15 million question to voters during the November election.
According to Adam N. Palmer, who is an architect for O & G, it would with taxpayers paying about $15 million to add a sprinkler system at and schools, upgrade the wiring in the buildings and fix the HVAC systems. The repairs at West Hill School would be about $8.18 million and it would cost approximately $7.15 million at Stevens School. The figures, which include adding air conditioning to Stevens School and repairing the system at West Hill School, were presented at the Rocky Hill Joint Facilities Committee and town council meetings Monday night.
"The end result is sprinklers have to be put in (the elementary schools)," said Councilor Timothy Moriarty during . He was leading the meeting in the absence of Mayor Anthony LaRosa, whose .
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The joint facilities committee and the council did not take any action on the cost estimates. Board of Education Member Ronald Robbins along with three town councilors were present at the joint facilities meeting, however other board members are on vacation, Moriarty said. Councilors Joe Kochanek and Larrye deBear as well as Board of Education Member Frank Morse were also present at the joint facilities meeting in the audience, he added.
"In all fairness to the board (of education), we really cannot move forward until we get approval from the board," Moriarty said. "If the board does not approve it, we don't get any state reimbursement."
The joint facilities committee and the board of education are exploring the possibility of asking the taxpayers to pay the $15 million for the necessary improvements to the schools and want the question placed on the November ballot.
For the question to be on the November ballot, it must be approved by the council by Sept. 5, Moriarty said. A public hearing could be held on Sept. 5, which would be followed by a special council meeting to approve or deny the question, according to Town Manager Barbara Gilbert.
"We have a limited window. It could be done," she said about adding the question to the November ballot. "But this is something that if nothing else, it starts a dialogue on the issue."
Sprinklers at the elementary schools have become a topic of discussion after a report issued by Fire Marshall Rich Renstrom in which he in district schools. previously told Patch that most of the violations have already been addressed.
Even though there are no sprinklers and violations were found at both elementary schools, Renstrom assured members of the joint facilities that the buildings are safe and no children are in danger.
Although school facilities themselves are overseen by the school system, the town is charged with the buildings’ upkeep.
Some members of the council will be on vacation at the end of the month, however a quorum should be available to approve any question or take any possible action, Moriarty said.
"Is that possible, sure anything is possible," he said at the council meeting. "Is it doable. I don't know. We are trying to get people together to approve stuff."
The joint facilities committee is expected to discuss the continuing sprinkler installation project at its next meeting on Aug. 20. A board of education meeting is also scheduled for Aug. 23.