PLAINVILLE - A handful of residents attended a tour and public hearing on the proposed renovations to Wheeler Elementary School Monday.
“It was very lightly attended,” said Town Manager Robert E. Lee. “Other than town officials and building officials there were maybe eight or nine residents.
“There were three citizens who had kids in school at Wheeler that spoke very positively about renovations. They felt that it should be supported. All in all it was about a 10 minute hearing.”
Town councilors and building officials have been discussing a plan to renovate Wheeler Elementary School and Plainville High School’s parking lot as new.
The total cost of this project is $25.26 million but Lee said that a state grant will cover $12.1 million, leaving the town with a share of $13.1 million.
Lee said that state legislators have assured him that state funding will be available if the project passes referendum before June 30. The council is expected to set a referendum for June 6.
“The council is also on-record saying that if we don’t get state funding we won’t go ahead with the project, even if it is approved at referendum,” said Lee.
Lee noted that the school, located at 15 Cleveland Memorial Drive, was constructed in the 1950’s and had an addition built on in 1994. However, it has not received any major renovations since construction.
“There have been circulation problems with buses and parents dropping off students,” said Lee. “There have also been several new security requirements as far as access to school buildings put into place that the school lacks.”
“We stand to receive about 50 percent reimbursement for a renovate-as-new project, which is a significant amount,” Lee continued. “The town portion of costs can easily be absorbed into our debt service plan. Everybody agrees that the school needs to be updated and that this is a good time to do so.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or .