Please remember that this page is not an official document;  in addition, it is a summary of many, many meetings attended by the author of the "About Town" - even before there was an "About Town" column in the Weston FORUM!

The History of Weston School Planning:

How What Was Built Differed From The Plan...in chronological order:  Friar, Associates;  O,R & L;  and Fletcher-Thompson.


Are there any children?  Some said "no" but somehow young students and their sibs (l) showed up at the "Kinderland" schoolhouse door (r)...

Preamble:  DiCarlo & Dahl (Hamden) - responsible for 4 room addition at North House (with foundation for 4 more rooms) @1993-1994.

You Have To Have A Plan:  How We Hired Three (3) Different Architects To Plan For School And Town Needs.

The First Architect/Planners:

In 1995 Friar, Associates prepared a several phased plan (not shown below) that included in the first section, redesign of Weston Middle School "Clusters" into conventional rooms;  connecting hallways were added at Hurlbutt plus "Core Building" with new Library, offices and 4 new rooms...additional rooms were "recovered" from temporary uses and renovated into 10 more classrooms.  If memory serves, the new Department of Public Works Headquarters on Old Hyde Road was designed and built in this first phase, too.

In a later phase, the present bus garage was proposed as the new Board of Education Headquarters facility. NOTE: also for a later phase, a site was identified for a 3-4-5 school building on the Central Campus, but the presence of wetlands appeared to require early involvement by the Army Corps of Engineers and preparation of detailed design plans as part of that application.


2nd Architect/Planners:

Wrangle over who's in charge in 1998...Board of Selectmen has revised Friar Associates ideas but school community seeks broader thinker..."OUT OF THE BOX"...and in 1999, with O,R&L at the helm, goes back to the drawing boards for a more comprehensive look at needs.  Weston School Master Plan Completed in February 2000;  Implementation of Plan On Hold - if memory serves, this solution required connections to sewers.

O,R&L existing conditions map left.  O,R&L. school campus - AND PLEASE EXCUSE BAD LINKS FOR ANYTHING TO WESTON FORUM.

How does the WESTON SCHOOL FACILITIES PLAN fit into other Plans? For a link to information about land use in Weston and the region, click below:  MAPS AND PHOTOGRAPHS;  LINKS TO OTHERS FOR TOWN PLANNING.

DECISIONS TO BE MADE SAT. FEB. 26, 2000?  No, but it was later...by Facilities Planning Committee and Board of Education.

The final, absolutely final (but it wasn't the last one...there was one more), meeting of the Facilities Planning Committee was scheduled for Saturday morning, February 26, 2000*--8am in the Meeting Room at Town Hall. Will the public get the word about the estimated costs at this time if there are modifications to any of the scenarios? For the record: the dollars went upward, above $70 million--see Final School Plan.


*

O,R & L Presentation February 26, 2000 (Town Hall Meeting Room);
OPTIONS:

COST BUDGET OPTION 4A & 4A.1;  SAME COSTS FOR 4A & 4A.1:

Cost Breakdown - Phase One

New Elementary School 3-5 - $15,800,000
Hurlbutt PK-2 - $6,015,500
Middle School 6-8 - $6,150,000
High School 9-12 - $19,016,500
Campus-wide Site Work - $5,657,000
________________________________________
SUBTOTAL - $52,638,995
 

COST BUDGET OPTION 4A & 4A.1;  Same costs for 4A and 4A.1

Cost Breakdown - Phase Two

Middle School 6-8 - $415,000
High School 9-12 - $5,537,500
Campus-wide Site Work - $655,000
______________________________
SUBTOTAL - $6,607,500

TOTAL FOR 4A or 4A.1 - $58,986,500



OPTION 4A
New High School - $24,969,000
Hurlbutt PK-2 - $6,015,500
Middle School - $6,565,500
Intermediate 3-5 - $15,780,000 (NEW SCHOOL)
Campus-wide site work - $5,657,000
________________________________________
TOTAL - $58,986,500

Outline of Option 4A's major features appear below: please note that Power Point presentation does not contain the detail of hand-drawn graphics used live at the Board of Education meeting!
 

PROPOSED HURLBUTT ELEMENTARY
East House (proposed gym 3600sq.ft., classroom conversion)...
South House (new cafeteria, renovation)...
Learning Resource Center (3300sq.ft. addition)...
North House (renovation).

INTERMEDIATE NEAR THE BIG SWAMP
There is proposed a brand new Intermdiate 3-5 School directly on School Road, between Hurlbutt and Weston High School.

PROPOSED HIGH SCHOOL
A 70,000sq.ft. Field House, renovations to the auditorium (add new music and art complex), library renovation (add 30,000sq.ft.), new cafeteria and Commissary (prepared food for all other schools here), 2 story, 20 classroom addition (22,000sq.ft.)...plus new parking arrangement for staff and separate student cars as well as bus drop off on new road alignment. REMINDER: the high school is reaching capacity soon...

PROPOSED MIDDLE SCHOOL
New auditorium for 400, cafeteria renovation, library renovation, new parking lot design as well as bus drop off design (School Road having a "ring road" around Middle and High Schools in overall plan)...
[IMAGE]

PROPOSED BRAND NEW 3-5 GRADE SCHOOL
The option described in 4A.1 below is placed on REVSON FIELD (shown above) and includes play area, proposed parking and multi-purpose field.

A new 3-4-5 Intermediate Elementary School on the REVSON FIELD site on School Road--at the easterly end of the complex--is 4A.1 (four 'A' prime). The new school footprint and site option became more realistic when the wetlands lines were redrawn recently (making room for a playing field).



COST BUDGET MATRIX
Option 4A.1

New High School - $24,969,000
Hurlbutt PK-2 - $6,015,000
Middle School 6-8 - $6,565,000
Intermediate 3-5 - $15,780,000 (new school)
Campus-wide site work - $5.657,000
TOTAL - $58,986,500



THE BRAND NEW OFF SITE HIGH SCHOOL...
The off-site high school option is only a schematic for now. Presently there is no site of 35 acres available in Weston. If this option were to be taken, there would be a very different re-use plan for the old high school and the middle school...

COST BUDGET OPTION 5
Cost Breakdown:

New High School - Off Campus - $42,895,000
Hurlbutt PK-2 - $6,015,500
Middle School (move to high school) - $9,936,375
Intermediate School 3-5 (to WMS) - $6,150,000
Campus-Wide Site Work - $4,957,000
TOTAL - $69,953,875
 

The expenses for developing any sight are not included here.

REVERSE CHRONOLOGY for O, R & L Planning Process:
O,R&L presented the above option and two others at Board of Education meeting Monday, December 20, 1999 at 7:30pm in WMS Library.

At the Board of Education meeting no progress was reported on moving ahead with these or any other additions, etc. because septic system problem is still unresolved by the Town.


AD HOC STEERING COMMITTEE MET SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1999 FROM 8AM TO 11AM IN TOWN HALL (MEETING ROOM):
The First Selectman ended the meeting with a reminder that the Selectmen would be meeting with the Financial Advisor to the Town of Weston regarding the effect of necessary bonding costs for new schools and the sewer/septic options on our financial position this week. When all is added together, $60 million for schools (plus a fudge factor), cost of septic solution and other expenses not yet anticpated (especially if new high school option is chosen), expect your taxes to rise.

Will our AAA Bond rating stay at this stellar level if we go into too much debt? Will the State of Connecticut provide "20%-25%" in grant money to our project (O,R&L pointed out that "necessary" items are eligible)?

Final report from O,R & L given orally. In four weeks, a FINAL written proposal (including costs and financing suggestions, for options) will be presented to the Selectmen. Now that the Town has received the Fuss & O'Neill Report, and all of us have received our re-assessments, it is time for some decisions to be made!

The Internet information, and in fact, all Power Point presentations at this stage of the project are only superficial impressions of the work done. There are scaled drawings (on a CAD system) for all existing buildings--and part of the final report will be recommendations regarding the need for building upkeep. The Chairman of the Building Committee, seated in the audience, pointed out how critical this element will be as the physical plant practically doubles (present upkeep is not good).

SITE WORK ESTIMATES:
There are two phases to the school construction-renovation project...one phase is to have $5.6 million of site work, the second phase to have $700,000 in site work.

Hurlbutt costs: as a pre-k, k-2 school, Hurlbutt will cost over $6 million dollars to upgrade. Over $4 million is general renovation, $800,000 for kitchens, and another million for gym and LRC upgrades. Please note the separate entrances off School Road for two kinds of drop-off (bus and parent), plus new parking for staff and visitors.

THE NEED FOR MOVING THE BUS BARN IS AESTHETIC...IF IT IS MOVED, THE ARCHITECT SUGGESTS OUT-OF-TOWN...

Weston High School expands (after 30 years, a $24.6 million renovation is needed):
One of the big ticket items will be the high school--$19 million in phase one, $5.6 million in phase two. This is proposed because the ultimate projected population for the high school is 1000 students (now 480). O,R& L plans for community use of the "sports suite" of field house, new gym, lockers. Parking will be relocated nearby entrance to "sports suite."

NOTE: A recent concept was a "sports suite."  It appears that the existing auditorium is to be renovated and a brand-new "Field House" that includes a track and basketball courts is included instead.

Weston Middle School: now a 6-7-8 real junior high school...$6.6 million.
Population drops (grades 4&5 go to new elementary school) and core facilities get expanded: new 400 seat auditorium, general renovations=$6,150,000. Plus more than $400,000 for phase two.

New 3-4-5 School (Upper Elementary):
This is to be located, most likely, on Revson Field. If this building can be constructed independent of other activities, on the site shown below, there should be least disruption of education for the children!
[IMAGE]

New 3-4-5 School costs: $16 million--maybe on Revson, maybe in the wetlands...



The NEW WESTON HIGH SCHOOL OFF SITE OPTION:
No visuals were shown--because there is no site. If the Minerva Heady parcel is used, there will be heavy site costs (but no purchase additional). O,R&L still advises against this option because it would destroy the "campus" concept--and would be really costly.

The Chairman of the Building Committee noted that maintaining the school complex is going to be much more difficult under any option, as the facility grows. (Even without the problem of having outlying buildings, such as in the NEW HIGH SCHOOL OPTION, maintaining the plant is a problem.)


December 9 BUILDING COMMITTEE saw Fuss & O'Neill explain the several options for sewage treatment in the center of Town to representatives of the State of Connecticut DEP, the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, and just about everybody who has anything to do with land development (just to watch) and the public (who spoke up--especially people from Wilton)!


November 24, 1999...

It has been a long time since O,R & L showed its alternative plans...since then the makeup of the Board of Selectmen has changed, control of the Board of Education has swung away from the Republicans...Will this mean a different course for Weston (in so far as the Master Plan for Schools is concerned)?

The most recent presentation materials by O,R&L facilities planning team (and commentary by "About Town") no longer available here. The base data and notes on "Existing Conditions" are included in the August 28, 1999 "Steering Committee" presentation--chronologically further down the page.

NOTES ON SATURDAY "PUBLIC HEARINGS" (SEPT. 25, OCTOBER 2, 1999): O,R&L POWER POINT PRESENTATION #2 (NEW IDEAS AND DETAILS OF PREVIOUSLY SHOWN ALTERNATIVES).



"ABOUT TOWN" SUMMARY OF OCTOBER 2, 1999 DUPLICATE PUBLIC HEARING:
With perhaps 100 persons in attendance at this second, identical session (same presentation), the call came early from opponents to anything-other-than-septic systems to solve that issue first. How will this matter be resolved? Meanwhile, the school community is divided. It is possible that nothing will come out of this exercise...will Weston's reputation as a "Blue Ribbon" school system suffer?

The Town awaits the final report on solutions to the school septic problem before moving any further along the road to selecting an "Option" to pursue. (Please see below for description of "Options" offered by the architect-planners.)

This meeting lasted more than 2 1/2 hours.


"ABOUT TOWN" SUMMARY OF FIRST SESSION OF PUBLIC HEARING (9-25-99):

At this Saturday morning "Public Hearing" nine (9) new details and/or totally new concepts were introduced (since the August 28, 1999 Power Point presentation--scroll down). The first detail came in the parking and circulation drawing.

CIRCULATION
This is the concept of creating a one-way circulation sub-system around the Middle School and High School (with parking lots on the inside, pedestrian walkways created from the BUS DROP OFFS at the outer one-way road). Two-way traffic from Lord's Highway and at the other side, Weston Road/School Road would meet the "loop"--this would discourage using School Road as a pass-through. MOST IMPORTANT: a pedestrian "spine" sidewalk is to be created within the new right of way and diverging at points where access by foot would naturally take a straight line... NOTE: one individual asked that it only be lit for safety purposes--down lighting necessary in areas not near parking areas? There are wider sections of the ring road where bus drop offs occur. Parent drop off is separated from bus area. This is accomplished by re-locating the garage to Town DPW site with school bus access ONLY within the School superblock. QUESTION: How does the realignment of School Road and addition of pedestrian circulation spine relate to Y2K improvements underway by the Town? At present, the lines are being buried beneath the ground next to pavement of PRESENT location of School Road?

As they left at the end of the session, traffic and engineering consultants were treated to the traffic jam as "sign-ups" for Parks and Recreation activities conflicted with on-going programs--Keystone Kops/style overflow! Cars and soccer players of all sizes and shapes mixing together in dangerous proximity...

NOTE: one citizen, who had not seen or heard anything of this planning process prior to Saturday September 25, wanted to have spread sheets prepared showing how time line and cost estimates would look--how can the community make a choice among options without a "price tag" on each? Another speaker was concerned that Weston was not doing enough to improve the school facilities, while yet one more person puzzled over why a school system that used to handle a similar number to the present enrollment, needs more space.

Next weekend--Saturday, OCTOBER 2, 1999 at 9am, the second "Public Hearing" will take place at the WMS cafeteria.



"ABOUT TOWN" SUMMARY:
O,R&L AUG. 28, 1999 STEERING COMMITTEE PRESENTATION:
The presentation at the August 28, 1999 meeting of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to the FACILITIES PLANNING project, including two more alternatives, was presented at the September 24, 1999 Ad Hoc Advisory Committee meeting. NOTE: whenever reference is made on the maps that follow to the high school, the correct terminology for part of the work recommended is "2-story addition" (for 16 classrooms)."

NEW SINCE AUGUST 28 PRESENTATION:
The "Field House/Performing Arts Center" concept is new ("4A and 4B"). Apparently, there is also a plan #5 that would show an off-campus high school (moving the other schools into space now occupied by different grade configurations).

The next "Public Hearing" is set for Saturday, October 2. NOTE: The septic system analysis and recommendations for alternative sewage treatment methods at the Schools is due to be released in two (2) weeks, according to the Town Engineer.

REMINDER: The basic information on existing conditions appears below from slides in the August 28, 1999 STEERING COMMITTEE summary--as well as OPTION 2 (build up on existing footprints) and OPTION 3 (build classroom facility like a college campus--2nd story for high school, 1st floor for middle schoolers).





3rd Architect/Planner:

Fletcher-Thompson selected to revisit previous plans and come up with a solution not requiring sewers.

FLETCHER-THOMPSON PLAN APPROVED AT NOV. 15, 2001 REFERENDUM.  Link to Building Committee notes above.


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