Coleytown Middle School on schedule to reopen by August
WESTPORT — With a little less than three months before a final decision is made, all signs currently point to Coleytown Middle School reopening by August.
“CMS will be open for the start of the school year, according to all of our timelines,” said CMS Building Committee Chairman Don O’Day at a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.
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Last summer, the Representative Town Meeting approved the $32 million plan to restore Coleytown after the middle school closed in 2018 due to mold problems. The school district is seeking up to $6 million in reimbursement funds through a state grant.
Coleytown students are now in their second year of being relocated to Bedford Middle School for classes. While Coleytown is scheduled to reopen this summer, O’Day said exterior work is expected to continue into November.
“All efforts will be made to minimize noise associated with putting panels up while school is in session, and certainly a safe environment will be maintained,” he said. “ ... We’re going to do everything we can to make sure there is no disruption whatsoever.”
Materials will be secured, and project manager Susan Chipoura said the goal is to get much of the noisier work done before school starts. Workers will also be given identification for security purposes.
“One of the conditions we put in was that background checks had to be done for all of the workers,” Chipouras said.
Some of the building’s improvements include replacing the entire HVAC system, roof and exterior skin of the building, as well as upgrading the library and science rooms. All of the windows will also be replaced and exterior grounds will be regraded to improve drainage.
“The Coleytown Middle School project will come in on budget,” O’Day said, adding there was no reduction from the project’s original scope.
The Building Committee has marked April 15 as the date to officially announce whether the school is ready to be reopened. While O’Day remained confident in the timeline, he admitted unpredictable elements such as bad weather could play a role in the project’s completion.
“For the most part, great weather from now until school starts isn’t going to help us tremendously,” O’Day said. “Bad weather is going to hurt us more than good weather helps.”
BOE members largely praised the committee for its work, with some encouraging continued updates. Interim Schools Superintendent David Abbey said the administration was planning for a variety of scenarios, including if the middle schools have to be combined for another year.
“We will figure out a way, if we have to, to make it work,” Abbey said. “I’m confident about that.”
While O’Day said he doubted any emergencies would occur, he reassured the board he would continue to provide updates.
“It’s going to be a whole team effort of meeting regularly to discuss progress and where we are until the first kids are coming into school,” he said.