FAQ: What we know about the Bedford school portables plan
WESTPORT — About a week ago, the Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting voted to overturn the Board of Education’s plan to house all sixth-graders at the elementary schools next year in light of the continued closure of Coleytown Middle School due to mold issues.
Instead, the groups voted to place all of town’s middle school students at Bedford next year and appropriate $1 million to get portable classrooms there to accommodate the addition of Coleytown students.
The Board of Education voted at its Feb. 11 meeting to fast-track the purchase of six portables for Bedford instead of seeking state funding for the plan, which would have slowed the process of obtaining the portables, according to schools Chief Financial Officer Elio Longo.
Here’s what else we know about some frequently asked questions regarding the Bedford portables plan:
Where will the portables be located?
A Request for Proposal listed on the town’s website provides a map of where the six portable classrooms will be located. Two classroom portable building will be placed to the left of Bedford near the multipurpose field, while a four classroom portable building will post alongside the school’s right side, according to the map.
Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved the portables placement in the fall when the BOE hoped portables could be ordered for the current school year to alleviate crowding at Bedford due to the influx of Coleytown students who arrived at the school following Coleytown’s closure in September, education board Chair Mark Mathias said.
What will the portables include?
The portables will have power and internet access but will not include plumbing for bathroom facilities. The portables will be close enough to the main Bedford building bathrooms to meet building codes, Mathias said. Each portable will its own heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit, which will keep the classroom dry and prevent against mold growth, Mathias said.
All of the portables will have ramp and stair access per the RFP.
How much will the portables cost?
The town has appropriated $1 million to lease portables at Bedford, but the final price will remain unknown until the RFPs are submitted in about two weeks and a vendor is selected, Mathias said. Per the RFP form, vendors will propose a price to design, furnish, deliver and install the six portables.
The contract also calls for complete removal of the portables at the termination of the lease. In addition, the vendor will be responsible for the installation of fire alarms for the portables and other accessory work to the buildings, which is all to be included in the up to $1 million allotted funds.
How long will the portables be in place?
The RFP outlines a one-year portable lease with the option to extend the deal for a second year should Coleytown remain closed for two more school years, Mathias said. The BOE’s hope is only a one-year lease will be necessary, he said. Recent reports suggest remediation on the Coleytown building may allow for a fall 2020 reoccupation of the school.
Which students will be taught at the portables?
The plan is under development and the administration has not yet recommended a plan to the BOE regarding which students will be taught in the portables, Mathias said.
Will any middle school students be taught at Staples High School?
This year, the Coleytown’s eighth-grade students have been taught at an “annex” at Staples High School, but no middle school students will be housed at Staples next year, Mathias said.
At the Feb. 11 BOE meeting, the board voted to educate all sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at Bedford commencing in the fall 2019 school year.
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Who is covering this story?
Westport News general assignment reporter Sophie Vaughan can be reached at 203-842-2638, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SophieCVaughan1.
Westport News Editor Liana Teixeira can be reached at 203-842-2582, by email at LTeixeira@ctpost.com or on Twitter at @lianateixeira14.