Board OK’s $1.71 Million in Expenditures

FAIRFIELD – During their Aug. 20 meeting, the School Board voted 7-0 to approve nearly $2 million in capital expenditures for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, with the bulk of those expenditures going toward readying the Career and Technology Center for its next life.

Much of the $1.71 million ($1.1 million) will come from the 2013-2014 $4 million general obligation bond, Kevin Robinson, Director of Finance, told the Board, with $600,000 coming from 2012-2013 bond funds. The remainder of the 2013-2014 bond, $2.9 million, will be devoted to the construction of the new Career Center. Of that $1.71 million, the Board approved $700,00 for the preparation of the current Career Center site for its future role as home of Gordon Odyssey Academy and the District’s Transportation and Maintenance departments.

The capital expenditures also include $300,000 for technology upgrades across the District; $215,000 for school furniture and capital requests; $125,000 to replace playground equipment in schools district-wide; $110,000 to upgrade the fire and security alarm system at Fairfield Central High School; $100,000 to replace security cameras in the District; and a $160,000 contingency fund.

Robinson said most of the expense in transitioning the existing Career Center revolves around paving the parking lot for the District’s fleet of buses.

Work on the new Career Center, meanwhile, is progressing on schedule, according to Anthony Lawrence, executive vice president of Brownstone Design, the firm tasked with the $11.4 million project. Dale Collier, president of the company, told the Board last week that they were at or near budget for the building itself, but additional equipment for the facility could push the cost to $12 million. The site location, between the middle school and the high school, has presented particular challenges, he said, and his firm is working with the Department of Transportation on how to make the site accessible to cars and buses coming in and out from the Highway 321 Bypass. The soil on the site has also presented a challenge, and geotechnical surveys of the land have revealed that the building will need to be placed on stone pilings for structural stability. The subsurface work could add $1 million to the project.

The Board voted 7-0 to accept Brownstone’s report and move on to the next phase of the project. The design and development phase will be completed next month, Lawrence said, with the construction documents scheduled to be completed in January. Bids for work are slated to open in February.