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Summer Maintenance Projects Make Westport Schools Fresh for Upcoming Year

It was a very active summer for repairs and refurbishments at many Westport schools.

 

Westport principals, custodians, parents and students are all thrilled with the results of several summer maintenance projects.

Since the beginning of the financial crisis three years ago, within Westport’s reference group (Darien, New Canaan etc.), which led to the deferral of many routine maintenance projects.

Several schools underwent for students, and put a fresh coat of paint inside of many schools that needed it.

“If you walk up and down the school hallways you sense freshness,” said Assistant Superintendent of Schools Nancy Harris. “Every principal and every head custodian has said how much they appreciate the boards’ efforts."

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Harris described a new “southern style” cafeteria at . Board of Education member Mark Mathias said he went to Long Lots School Monday and was impressed with the cafeteria.

“It looks very nice. It’s much brighter than it was last year,” Mathias said.

Mason work was completed at in order to repair leaks and ensure the school is waterproof. All of the shrubs and bushes in front of the school had to be temporarily removed in order seal the school and make it watertight, according to Harris. Only two bushes were lost in the process.

“A lot of effort has gone into trying to resolve indoor air quality issues,” Harris said about keeping schools completely waterproof.

Repairs were made to the courtyard at , which eventually became hazardous to the children, Harris said.

“It became a safety issue where I was uncomfortable letting children go out there,” she said, adding that the town received a great bid from an excellent contractor for the entire project.

Board member Michael McGovern asked Harris if any recent maintenance projects were the result of budgetary moves the board made two to three years ago when maintenance dollars were severly cut.

Harris confirmed that routine maintenance like interior painting and replacing blinds were put off. The Westport School System used to replace those items for one third of every school every three years. The board decided to move those repairs to every four years, then every five years before eventually stopping all non-essential routine maintenance.

“Those are the kinds of things where you really see a difference. I think it creeps up on you until everything starts looking shabby,” Harris said about disregarding cosmetic maintenance for years.

Ginny McGovern, a parent of a student at was pleased with the upgrades.

“Those improvements go such a long way. Not just for the kids, but for the parents,” McGovern said of the cafeteria repairs at Coleytown. “When we come to pick up the kids they are excited.”

The cafeteria is the pickup space at Coleytown and is a place where a lot happens throughout the school day, McGovern said.

Repairs were made to the heating venting and air conditioning system; a project Board of Finance Chair James Marpe said was long overdue.

“The HVAC system is operational, though we are not pulling any units out at this time to make sure the AC works consistently and that humidity control is working,” Harris said.

There was a lot of activity in the Westport schools this summer, but there is a lot more to come. Harris previously described the Five Year Capital Forecast and cited several areas that will require maintenance in the coming years. The areas include, but are not limited to:

  • The replacement of the boilers at 
  • Track repairs at
  • The replacement of all windows and door coverings at

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