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BET approves money to repair Greenwich High science wing

December 18, 2018

GREENWICH — The Board of Estimate and Taxation has approved money to cover the cost of repairs to Greenwich High School’s science wing, but what’s going to happen with the school’s Performing Arts Center is still an open question.

On Monday evening the BET unanimously approved $217,000 to repair water damage at GHS. But that only covers damage as a result of a November malfunction that affected the science wing.

A separate flooding incident happened last week resulting in damage to the Performing Arts Center, but costs associated with that event are still being determined.

The $217,000 interim appropriation approved Monday night will still need to be approved in January by the Representative Town Meeting.

The town continues to work with its insurance company to assess the newest damage, which affected the Performing Arts Center and the main gymnasium. Last week, BET member Michael Mason said he anticipated a larger discussion about facilities would take place as part of 2019-20 budget discussions but the BET will meet again in January before the new budget is proposed.

On Monday night, Interim Superintendent of Schools Ralph Mayo, Board of Education Chair Peter Bernstein and Director of School Facilities Daniel Watson attended the BET meeting. Watson spoke briefly to update the board on the science wing repairs. He said parts and equipment had been ordered.

“We’re in a holding place right now until the parts are in,” Watson said.

He anticipates that all repair work for the science wing will be completed by the end of January at the latest, Watson told finance board members.

Repair work began immediately following the November incident, and was covered by school district’s operating budget. The $217,000 approved Monday will restore that money to the budget. BET Budget Committee Chair Leslie Moriarty said the town anticipates all but $25,000 of the cost to be reimbursed through insurance.

The science wing damage was reported on Nov. 15, when water was discovered in the stairwell leading down to the east side mechanical room. Approximately seven feet of water had to be pumped out, but not before causing problems to sewage ejectors, fire alarms, the hot water system in the wing.

While classes were able to go on, there is only limited hot water in the wing’s classrooms, restrooms or custodial areas and the system that brings pressurized air to the science labs also had to be shut down.

The cause of the flooding in the science wing has been attributed by the district to a broken gasket in the hot water system. It occurred weeks after yet another flooding incident — this one at Cos Cob School, where a malfunctioning faucet caused extensive flood damage and younger students to be relocated. The students are expected back in Cos Cob after holiday break ends in January. The cost of the repairs there is currently at $2 million.

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com

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