Subcommittee to select architect for New London school projects

New London — The School Building and Maintenance Committee took the first step Friday morning in a project to renovate or rebuild the city’s middle and high schools by appointing a subcommittee to select an architect to design the new facilities.

The school construction plans involve renovating as new Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School and New London High School, and constructing a new building to house a science, technology, engineering and math middle school at the high school campus.

Though the City Council’s approval of up to $168 million in bonding to fund the construction is subject to a referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot, the state has committed to pay for the evaluation, planning and design phase of the project.

“We can start working on that now,” said Michael Passero, a city councilor who also serves as chairman of the School Building and Maintenance Committee. “We currently have a $3 million grant from the state that fully funds the architect piece of the high school project.”

The architect selection subcommittee will include City Councilor Martin T. Olsen, Board of Education President Margaret Mary Curtin, Interim Superintendent Richard Foye, chief academic officer Katherine Ericson, Director of Public Works Tim Hanser, New London High School Principal William “Tommy” Thompson III, Vernon Skau from the fire marshal’s office, district facilities manager Miguel Gautier, city building official Kurt Kripas, citizens Martha Bauduccio and Kenric Handon and local architect Richard Gipstein.

“This subcommittee is going to consider all of the proposals from the architectural firms that reply to our” request for proposals, Passero said. “The subcommittee is going to be meeting to go over all the proposals, interview companies and then they’re going to come back to this body for a vote to select the architect.”

A request for proposals and qualifications will be issued by the city’s purchasing agent in about six weeks, according to a timeline provided by the Capitol Region Education Council, which serves as a consultant to the city on school construction projects.

The project, which would complete the facilities portion of the city’s transition to an all-magnet school district, is intended to address the myriad facilities problems at the high school. For more than five years, problems with the building have put the high school on probation with the agency that accredits New England secondary schools. And that agency has told the city that accreditation will be revoked if something isn’t done soon.

The Board of Education will hold an information session on the construction plans at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the high school auditorium.

c.young@theday.com

 

Twitter: @ColinAYoung

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