Upgrades set for Bedford to accommodate Coleytown students
WESTPORT — Renovations and additional space are coming to Bedford Middle School next year to accommodate the influx of students coming to the school from town’s defunct Coleytown Middle School.
“I believe this addition is really the centerpiece of allowing us to take in this number of kids and make sure they’re getting an optimal education,” Bedford Principal Adam Rosen told the Westport Board of Education at its Monday night meeting.
The combined Coleytown and Bedford populations will result in about 1,300 students at the school.
The BOE appropriated $20,000 from the board’s cafeteria fund for the project’s initial architectural designs, completed by architect Philip Cerrone, of Fairfield-based firm Cerrone Architects. The project, which includes the construction of four offices and two special-education resource rooms, is estimated to cost about $275,000, Cerrone said.
The BOE will seek a special appropriation from the Board of Finance for the cost once a Request for Proposal and bids are submitted, BOE Chair Mark Mathias said.
The town previously appropriated $1 million to fund the addition of six portables at Bedford, but the cost of these classrooms will likely to be closer to $800,000 and the remaining funds could be used for the office and classroom additions, schools Chief Financial Officer Elio Longo said.
The new office and classroom space will be located in the space above the library media center in order to maximize unused vertical space, Rosen said.
Pupil services professionals, such as counselors, psychologists, speech language pathologists, social workers and ESOL instructors will occupy the new offices. The spaces will also be utilized for daily meetings of the school’s “teaching teams” (groups of four teachers), which Rosen said are necessary to condense the large population into groups of 100 that feel small.
“By having space where the teaching teams can meet and have confidential, high-impact discussions about kids, then you get the full functionality of the teaching-team,” Rosen said.
Bedford Parent Teacher Association Co-President Meg Himes thanked the BOE for approving the additional spaces, but called on the group to fund other projects at the school, including the installation of indoor security cameras and repairs to the science labs and auditorium seats, both of which Himes said are “falling apart.”
“These repairs and this maintenance has been deferred too long. It know it’s hard to stretch the dollar and all of our buildings need attention, it’s imperative. But because we have all 1,300 students, plus or minus, going to the school next year, let’s make it ready to roll, get it right, and make it safe and a decent educational space for everybody so the teachers and kids are happy to come to school,” Himes said.
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