GPS Capital Projects Update

Keeping you updated on Greenwich Public Schools projects

March 2022 (volume 2, issue 2)

A Message From GPS

The GPS Capital Projects Update newsletter is distributed for the sole purpose of providing accurate, timely, and transparent updates to you - the Greenwich community - on the ongoing major capital and maintenance projects underway across the District.

Since late January, Central Middle School has been on the forefront of budget conversations due to the January 28 Systems Evaluation report. Our first section below focuses on CMS and provides you with a great resource for timely updates and answers to those questions you might have.

Thank you!

Dr. Toni Jones, Superintendent of Schools

Sean O'Keefe, Chief Operating Officer

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Central Middle School

On January 28, 2022, GPS received a Systems Evaluation report from DTC, Inc. for CMS. DTC’s assessment focuses on architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing conditions, and includes major and minor deferred maintenance activities. Our team includes Martin Benassi of Martin A. Benassi, AIA – Architect, LLC, for architectural and waterproofing, and Martin Surveying Associates, LLC, for survey and monitoring of movement in existing facades. The report confirmed that, generally, the facility does not conform to current CT Building Code standards.

We encourage you to read the recent history of Central Middle School studies and reports on file that will be updated on a regular basis when more information becomes available and watch the recent CMS PTA meeting below.

GPS is committed to an open communication process with the community. Our webpage will be continually updated as new information becomes available.

CMS was closed for one week in order to add bridging around portions of the building as required by the building department for safety in order to reopen after the February Break.

What’s Next?

GPS is moving through the Interim Funding process to start the educational specifications immediately this spring, and also for the funding of a temporary solution which will be installed this summer. In addition, the BOE voted unanimously to request the design funding for the 2022-2023 school year which begins on July 1, 2022. The BET passed the interim request 11-0 on March 1 with one member not able to attend the meeting. The request will move next to the full RTM. The goal for CMS is to complete the project from start to finish within the five-year timeline and meet the dates for the Connecticut Construction Office for reimbursements which cover up to 10% of the eligible costs.

CMS Scaffolding and Netting

Accelerated Process Proposed Timeline

North Mianus School

On December 20, 2021, students from the third, fourth, and fifth grades came back home from their 11-month absence, after taking a temporary residence in the former Trinity School in Stamford. The GPS facilities team led by Dan Watson did a phenomenal job and returned the students sooner than anticipated. Superintendent Toni Jones, Principal Angela Schmidt, and Assistant Principal Kathleen Smith-Ramirez led a celebration, as students waved blue and yellow pompoms and entered the school building under a balloon arch. Greenwich Time legendary photographer, Tyler Sizemore, was on-hand to document the homecoming. Greenwich Time reporter, Ken Borsuk, also wrote an informative piece to review North Mianus’ plight from February through December 2021.

For those who may not be aware of what happened at NMS, on Saturday, February 13, 2021, a plaster ceiling fell on a sprinkler pipe causing a significant flood as well as the collapse of the hung ceiling.

After a thorough investigation by an engineering consultant, the Town's Building Inspector, and our Facilities Team, the original building was closed to undergo extensive ceiling renovation. This was the front area of the building which flooded both the first floor and second floor. We continued to use the portions of the building that had been constructed more recently and were not impacted by the ceiling issue.

In late May 2021, both the BET and RTM met to discuss and vote on the funding for these repairs. We are grateful for their support in fully funding the project request. A contract was awarded with a start date of June 2021. All work associated with removal of the ceilings has been completed.

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WMS Soil Remediation Project

The Senior Project Manager last updated GPS on the Western Middle School soil remediation project on March 2, 2022. The additional soil borings have been completed and soil samples were collected, as requested by the State during the February meeting. The new groundwater monitoring wells and soil vapor probes were installed during the last week in February.

The project continues to move forward with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), utilizing the existing funding source. There is continuing testing on the outside perimeter of the property. Once an approved timeline has been granted, the project will be presented to the elected bodies to move swiftly. Another round of testing was requested in and around the property line area (beyond the field itself) and those results yielded more contaminated soil. The cost is currently estimated between $15,000,000-$20,000,000 due to the additional removal which will be required. The final plan and estimates are currently being prepared for submission to DEEP and EPA following the last round of testing samples.

Cardinal Stadium

Cardinal Stadium has seen great progress. Phase I opened with a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy on October 1, 2021. The BOE did not request funding for the full Phase II , but the design of the road and emergency access bridge are included in Phase I. Documents requested by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, who must approve access through the state easement right of way, will be sent directly to the Town of Greenwich.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the front gate prior to 64-12 homecoming victory versus Stamford High School. Speakers were installed and the bathrooms under the bleachers were open. An ADA compliant parking lot adjacent to the field was also open, allowing those with handicap placards to park within feet of the front entrance.

Cos Cob School HVAC

The ventilation and air conditioning system at Cos Cob School had deteriorated over the past few years and needed replacement. That fact, along with the need to review options to combat the spread of COVID led the GPS Facilities Department to have an assessment of the air conditioning and ventilation equipment. As expected, five of the six air handling units had exceeded their useful life. Repairs and maintenance to these units had become almost impossible as parts have become unobtainable.

An interim appropriation or Early release of Funding Request was made in December 2020 for $1,477,000 (lowest bid of $1,109,000, installation for new electronic controls of $210,000, and project contingency of 12%).

The project was started in January 2021 with purchase of equipment to ensure delivery for a summer 2021 installation. The project was substantially completed in September 2021 and on budget.

Click on the two charts submitted by Emcor/NEMSI, the contractor who successfully completed the CC HVAC project (brown=dirt).

GHS Environmental Remediation Update

The environmental investigation and remediation activities that began at Greenwich High School property in July 2011 have progressed to the second phase (Phase II) of remediation under the Connecticut Voluntary Remediation Program, and remediation of the athletic fields is ongoing.

There was an extensive update provided in January 2022 and can be found on GPS' website.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Phase II activities for Field 4 of the Greenwich High School property commenced in June 2021 and will continue through winter 2021-2022. This work includes the replacement of the artificial turf for Field 4. Field 4 and a portion of Field 3 will remain closed through winter 2021-2022.

  • Phase II site work will impact certain athletic fields availability through 2023. The bullpen areas and grass area outside the Field 5 outfield fence and one row of parking will remain closed for the duration of the project

  • The building will be closed again this summer for safe trucking of soil off the site.

As a reminder:

  • The school continues to be safe

  • Parking areas and most athletic fields are available for use during the school year

  • A Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for Phase II of site cleanup was submitted to DEEP and EPA in January 2021

  • DEEP and EPA approved the plan for the Town to proceed with remediation in the area of Field 4 and are reviewing the remainder of the plan, which addresses remediation in Fields 2 and 3

  • School facilities are otherwise open and safe for use

  • School facilities are closed during the summer

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Partnering with Eversource

Energy & Utilities is not only a significant part of the District’s overall operating fund budget ($3.8M or 2.1%) it is also an area of focus in identifying ways to reduce our energy footprint and ultimately cost to the taxpayers of Greenwich.

Partnering with Eversource, we have already completed two LED Upgrade projects (Parkway and North Street) and are in the process of completing five others (Cos Cob, ISD, Eastern, Western, and GHS). Another project at Central is scheduled to complete in the spring of 2022.

Under the program, the schools get new energy efficient lighting and associated control mechanisms with no upfront investment. Eversource funds approximately 52% in incentives and the District pays back the remaining 48% over 48-months with 0% interest through the applicable electric bill.

With the projected decrease in energy consumption, the monthly payback is expected to be offset by the monthly energy savings resulting in a small positive cash flow during the period. Upon completion of the payback period, the monthly energy savings will flow to the bottom line (annual estimated at $678K).

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Virtual Net Metering

In an effort to achieve its objectives to expand its use of sustainable energy and to reduce costs, Greenwich Public Schools has issued a Request for Proposal to participate in Virtual Net Metering. The process involves a solar developer to install solar panels off-site on an owned or leased property. The generated electricity is then exported to the grid of Suppliers (i.e. Eversource or United Illuminating).

Participation in the program is limited to local municipalities or departments of the State of Connecticut. With zero investment by the municipality, participants can receive credits of between 15-20% on every electric account. In the case of GPS, that would amount to $500-$600K per year, or more than $10M over a 20-year period.

BOE's Proposed FY23 Capital Budget

The Board of Education’s FY23 Capital Budget that was presented to the Board of Estimate and Taxation in late January and continues through May, reflecting the needs of the District and the overall community, and aligns with the Greenwich Public Schools Master Facilities Plan.

Since the BOE passed the budget in January, it has been adjusted to reflect the challenges of CMS, including:

  • Eliminated $2.5 million from CMS masonry
  • Added $2.5 million request for CMS architecture, engineering, and design
  • Removed $250,000 for CMS feasibility
  • Requested $150,000 to created educational specifications and environmental testing

The BOE budget process lasts an entire 12 months that includes presentations, approvals, and meetings to inform and receive valuable feedback from the community.

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GPS Master Plan and Appendix

As GPS continues with the 2022-2023 budget process, the 2017-18 Facilities Master Plan is a familiar and popular topic. We would like to remind all that the Facilities Master Plan is a planning and communication tool for the community for better understanding school facility needs and long-term budgetary needs.

But it is also important to remember that the Facilities Master Plan is not an engineering study of all of our buildings, a static document, a precise estimate of cost, actual designs (only renderings), or a predictor of unknown variables (behind walls, wiring, ceilings, etc.).

The GPS website has more information about many of these projects, an archive of these newsletters, and the full Facilities Master Plan and Appendix.