GPS Capital Projects Update
Keeping you updated on Greenwich Public Schools projects
A Message From GPS
The GPS Capital Projects Update is a newsletter issued periodically in order to provide updates on major projects to the Greenwich community across the District. On-going information is uploaded to the facilities projects page on the Greenwich Public Schools website on a regular basis.
The Board was recently presented the financial report for the period ending on June 30, 2023. The overall general fund available capital balance (excluding building committees) was $32.8M, including $8.2M for WMS Soil Remediation. In comparison to May month-end, overall available capital balance was down $3.4M. Finance and Facilities have been doing an ongoing Capital review. An RFP for Capital Project Management was issued in April and awarded to School Construction Consultants of New York, who started earlier this month.
- Balance July 1: $47,203,475
- Balance July 30: $36,109,206
- Execution: $11,094,269
Please refer to the adjacent chart for the status of open capital projects.
A draft of the FY25 Capital Budget was presented to the Board on September 14 at the annual Capital Summit, with additional capital budget planning on October 5 at the Board's regularly scheduled retreat. On October 19, an action item is expected to be on the agenda for the Board's next Business Meeting. As always, public comment is welcome at all Business Meetings.
Dr. Toni Jones, Superintendent of Schools
Blaize Levitan, Chief Operating Officer
Central Middle School
The Central Middle School Building Committee continues to work hard at this project that is vital to the children and families in the area. Earlier this month, the committee held a forum and public hearing to share preliminary concepts for a new CMS and allow community members to speak. You are welcome to watch, or rewatch, the forum on the District’s YouTube channel and view the PowerPoint presentation.
If you remember back in February of 2022, the Town of Greenwich Division of Building Inspection made the decision to close the building until it is deemed safe for occupancy. CMS students were temporarily relocated. After necessary emergency repairs and a thorough inspection, the Town of Greenwich Division of Building Inspection, the engineers at Diversified Technology Consultants, and GPS facilities department worked together to allow Central MS to safely reopen 18 days later.
Board's September Business Meeting
At September's Business Meeting, the Board, in a 6-1-1 vote, approved a $42,016,961 request for additional funding for a new Central MS building. The Building Committee is hard at work on the preliminary design which now requires a Municipal Improvement (MI) before appropriating funds, as prescribed by the new attorney opinion.
Questions & Answers
Understandably, current CMS families and those families with students in Cos Cob, Julian Curtiss, North Street, and Parkway Schools, are concerned about the uncertainty and future of Central Middle School. We have received many questions that we will try to answer below:
1. How safe is the current school, and for how long?
To ensure the safety of our students and staff, there will be regular building inspections performed until our new Central MS has been built.
2. Can you briefly explain the Municipal Improvement situation that we have heard so much about?
Recently, the Town of Greenwich lead attorney provided an opinion that Municipal Improvement was required before full funding could be granted. The opinion was based on the Town of Greenwich Charter. It has been very confusing, as this is not the interpretation which has been utilized for decades. For the BOE, New Lebanon, Cardinal Stadium, GHS Entryway, JC, CMS, and many other projects were all issued funding before any MI was issued by Planning and Zoning. Funds were appropriated, designs were created, full funding was sought during the capital budget process, and then once the preliminary design was ready, the MI would be presented to Planning and Zoning, and after approval, that is when a shovel was ready to hit the ground. The new opinion does not allow full funding until the design goes through the MI process. CMS was appropriated funding last May during the budget process. However, when the building committee went to seek additional funding this Fall, it was then that the opinion was issued and it halted the request for interim funding.
3. What happens if a new school has not been built by the time the lifespan of the temporary repairs of the current building expires?
The engineering firm who managed the temporary repair was Diversified Technology Consultants (DTC), and they provided a letter which states “serviceable for five years.” The district will continue to monitor the building and if the life of the temporary solution should need to be extended due to the recent delays, the engineering firm will provide an estimate and timeline. Conducting a thorough inspection and any additional work would bring a GPS interim funding request to complete required work to keep the building safe and secure.
4. Why are there so many delays in this process? Why does it seem like there is no sense of urgency?
The building committee has been hard at work to move the project forward. There have been some challenges in the process, and we are hoping that they are on track to move the project forward.
Old Greenwich School
While the Old Greenwich School Building Committee continues their dedicated work on this much needed renovation project, it has now been impacted by the new attorney opinion requiring Municipal Improvement approval before full funding can be provided. They are on the October agenda for Planning and Zoning and are hopeful that they will gather swift approval as necessary and then get back on the BET and RTM agenda for the remaining funds required for the project.
Earlier this month, the Old Greenwich School Building Committee held a standing-room-only Neighbor Forum to give the community an update with an extremely informative presentation.
Julian Curtiss School
The District’s facilities department worked diligently on Julian Curtiss School’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
A cooling tower arrived on site at JC for installation in April and new equipment to provide cooling in the gymnasium arrived in late June and was installed. For more information, please read project notes from the facilities department. The staff and students were delighted that they now have a cool building, especially given the heat wave at the start of this year.
The Julian Curtiss Building Committee continues to work hard that is vital to the children and families in the area. The secure entry and ADA ramp access is moving forward with design and will be in front of Planning and Zoning for their Municipal Improvement approval.
Greenwich High School Front Vestibule Project
If you drive by Greenwich High School, you will see construction has begun on the school’s new entryway. The project will most likely flow into the fall of 2025. The student entrance has been rerouted for the 2023-2024 school year and is working efficiently. After construction, guests will enter the secure vestibule and turn left straight into the newly designed office area, and students will continue forward into the glass corridor. This will be a great safety enhancement keeping guests from entering the glass corridor with students before going to the office.
Committee meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the web page dedicated to this great project.
Western Middle School Fields
A rigorous bidding process was conducted for the Western Middle School Field Remediation Project during the past few months and a contractor has been selected. Currently, the Town of Greenwich's Legal Department is working with the legal team for the bakery company behind WMS on mutually agreeable language for the easement which is currently utilized by the Town of Greenwich's Department of Public Works to access the transfer station. This easement will also allow easy access to the grounds behind WMS. The project is getting closer to a start date as the last few challenges are being ironed out with this complex project.
Updated details on this project can be found on the district's webpage dedicated to WMS Soil Remediation.
Greenwich High School Field Remediation
The summer of 2023 saw remediation work continue on the GHS campus with substantial work on Fields 2 & 5. Work is ongoing, and the project team is working as quickly as possible to wrap up excavation and move on to restoring the fields. The team hopes to restore the fields this fall, depending upon project conditions and weather permitting. Restoration will include a new irrigation system and a restored regular turf field. Work areas will remain fenced off until restoration is complete. Fields 2 & 5, including the path from the Western Parking Lot along the edge of Field 2 and over the bridge to the visitors stands at Cardinal Stadium, will remain closed until backfilling and restoration is completed in that area. Fields 3 ,4, 6, and 7 are open to the school and public for use. Project updates are posted on the district's website.
The work at GHS is expected to continue through the summer of 2024.
Greenwich High School Pool Deck
Greenwich High School’s swimming pool and surrounding area received a much needed upgrade during the summer. The project included:
Removal of the original tile on the deck surrounding the pool
Removal and replacement of structural concrete deck around the pool
Replacement of stainless steel deck drains
Replacement of subsurface drain lines that were found to be compromised during demolition of deck
Replacement of rotted subsurface electrical lines
Installation of epoxy deck coating system on pool deck
Painting of perimeter walls
Installation of new bleachers
Hamilton Avenue Parking Garage
A Condition Survey of the Hamilton Avenue School Parking Garage has been completed by Desman Design Management, a top-tier national firm that specializes in parking consulting, design, planning and restoration. Due to deterioration, the report was requested to evaluate the present condition and its overall structural integrity, identify areas requiring immediate attention, and develop repair options along with a cost estimate.
Based on the results of the survey, the parking garage was found to be in fair overall condition, but the structure is experiencing age and corrosion-related deterioration conditions that should be addressed in order to ensure its structural integrity and extend its useful life.
A request is currently in the BOE draft capital budget.
ADA Assessment District-Wide
Silver/Petrucelli + Associates, an architecture, engineering, and interior design collaborative, was contracted to conduct an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) assessment of all GPS buildings to better understand code compliance and prioritize much needed access. The assessment is still on-going, with an expected timeline for conclusion to be sometime in October. It is expected that the study will conclude in time for the BOE to be more specific with their ADA requests in the 2024-2025 GPS Capital Budget. The assessment is being conducted by those who specialize specifically in ADA.
Hamilton Avenue HVAC
During the last budget cycle, the BOE requested funds for HVAC replacement for the full Hamilton Avenue School building, but those funds were not approved. Instead, the BOE was asked to return with an interim funding request when ready with the design. The district contracted for a geothermal expert, and a traditional HVAC contractor, to propose solutions and cost for the building. The geothermal expert flew in from Colorado. Once both of the contractors provide their analysis and suggestions, the BOE will be going forward with an interim request for funding so that materials can be ordered as swiftly as possible given typical lengthy shipping delays.
During the summer of 2023, the HVAC system failed and building temperatures were averaging approximately 85 degrees. The district contracted for a temporary cooling unit, which is sitting behind the building. GPS will be requesting interim funding for the emergency solution, as it cost approximately $40,000 to deliver the temporary unit and is costing approximately $25,000 per month to keep it on site. The unit will get shut off during the colder months, and the district is working with the company to keep the unit on site as getting it back in the spring could be difficult. The building would not have opened without HVAC.
Parkway School Water Update
In August, Greenwich Public School’s environmental consultant conducted sampling for emerging contaminants in drinking water at Parkway School and a town-leased building close-by following an initial test that may have detected elevated levels. Drinking water samples were collected to test for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) recommended public water systems test for PFAS. Those test results confirmed that contaminants, or PFAS, are above the regulatory limits.
All water fountains in the school building have been turned off, though faucets for washing hands and toilets in the bathrooms are operational. The Connecticut DPH has said that PFAS are not readily absorbed by skin, therefore washing hands remains safe. In addition, the Food Services Department has been given direction from DPH on what is and is not acceptable with our kitchen operations. Parkway water will not be utilized for cooking items, such as pasta, but is safe for other activities such as washing dishes.
Parkway now has a large supply of bottled water on hand for students and staff.
The district’s facilities team and our consultant are designing a filtration system, and GPS has contracted with Fuller/DeAngelo Architects to design and prepare bid documents for the creation or addition to the existing pump house. We are moving as quickly as possible to resolve the issue so that full water service can be restored to the building.