Milford schools

Milford schools eyeing $84m upgrades and ‘high prices ahead’, official says


MILFORD — The city’s public schools plan to spend up to $84.7 million on capital improvements over the next five years, according to the school system’s 2022-26 capital improvement plan.

The plan does not come with money and is generally used as a planning aid to anticipate the needs of the school system over the next five years, chief operating officer James Richetelli said at the board meeting this week.

“The plan assists the board and helps the city plan future projects, especially with regards to finances,” Richetelli said. “Dollar amounts are not exact estimates because these are large projects for the most part, and they require the help of professional consultants to develop accurate estimates.”

Milford Public Schools.”/>

James Richetelli, director of operations for Milford Public Schools.

Hearst Connecticut Media/File Photo

Schools are required by city charter to create five-year capital improvement plans, and the state also reviews the plan for projects that city and school leaders plan to seek reimbursement from the state. .

Topping the list is the partial roof replacement at Joseph A. Foran High School, estimated at $3.5 million and listed for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Joseph A. Foran High School.

Joseph A. Foran High School.

Photo added /

Another priority project is the expansion and renovation of Live Oaks Elementary School, scheduled for the 2023-24 school year at an estimated cost of $15 million.

The Harborside Middle School renovation is on the list for 2024-25 for an estimated $23 million.

Richetelli said the planned upgrades at Harborside would give it parity in facilities with other colleges in the city.

“The project will bring Harborside to (the level of) additions, renovations and upgrades that we did first in East Shore and West Shore,” Richetelli said.

Live Oaks School in Milford.

Live Oaks School in Milford.

Photo added /

“At Harborside, there will be spaces dedicated to art and music as well as a reinforced science lab, similar to the projects we’ve done at East Shore and West Shore,” he said.

In addition to larger renovation projects, Richetelli detailed system-wide efforts to upgrade HVAC, ventilation, boilers and masonry, estimated at $1 million.

“All of our schools are reaching or will reach the life expectancy of their mechanical systems like HVAC, ventilation and boilers,” Richetelli said. ‘We have to follow what some would consider the bones of the school.’

Other less intensive projects that are planned in the short term include improving traffic and safety at Orchard Hills Elementary School, estimated at $1.8 million.

Richetelli said more parents were driving students to school rather than sending them on the bus, creating traffic problems.

Another 2021-2022 project included in the list is the creation of a dedicated space for the Children’s Learning Center program space at Jonathan Law High School, estimated at $1 million. Richetelli said there is a program in high school, but there is no dedicated space for it, and dedicating space to it could create a new career path and provide childcare and an additional pre-kindergarten to Milford families.

The last new improvement project proposed for the year 2021-22 concerns the improvement and upgrading of sports facilities at Law and Foran high schools. The schools have already spent about $4 million on the two schools’ sports fields, but Richetelli said that’s not enough to get where they need to be with the sports facilities.

Jonathan Law High School athletic fields under construction in October 2020.

Jonathan Law High School athletic fields under construction in October 2020.

Sandra Diamond Fox/Hearst Connecticut Media

“The ways of Foran and Law really need to be replaced,” Richetelli said. “In Foran, there are probably two lanes that we would close during a track meet because we don’t believe those two lanes are safe for runners.

“There are many other needs for sports facilities, and I remind the council that all of these facilities are used by the community at large,” he said.

School board president Susan Glennon asked if there was an average amount of money spent annually on schools and if some high-priority projects might not be funded.

Richetelli said that was a concern.

“Yes, that is our fear. We have high prices coming up, so there will be big demands already,” he said.

Glennon went on to ask if it was possible that not all capital improvement projects listed for 2021-22 would be funded. Richetelli confirmed that it was possible.

“These little things add up this year,” he said.

Following the discussion, the board unanimously approved the capital improvement plan for 2022-26, with an amendment providing $2 million for central air conditioning in 2021-22 and 2025-26.

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