Construction funds approved for Saxe
The Board of Selectmen approved more than $70,000 in funds for construction management of an expected expansion of Saxe Middle School, including money to consider whether the school’s cafeteria needs to be remodeled to meet increased enrollment.
The money will go to JCJ Architecture, the firm hired this spring to work on full construction plans for a 12-classroom addition to the school out of a $750,000 pool of pre-construction funds. The plan, already approved by the Board of Education and a specially appointed building committee, needs approval from town finance officials and the Town Council in October to be bid in January and begin early next year, according to Penny Rashin, chairwoman of the Saxe Middle School Building Committee.
Enrollment projections for the school show student population is expected to grow to more than 1,400 students by 2021. The current capacity of the school is 1,200 students.
“The money will allow us to do a full study to determine if it is cost efficient for the town to restructure the cafeteria,” Rashin said Tuesday at the body’s regular meeting.
The board also approved $62,000 requested by the Saxe Middle School to pay O&G Industries, the town’s construction manager on the prospective Saxe project, for pre-planning contingent on the approval of funding for the project.
Referring to it as a priority for the town, Mallozzi proposed forwarding a special appropriation to the Board of Finance for $12,000 for the town’s Utility Commission to pay consultants to help craft a request for proposal for cellular carriers to help expand coverage in town. The board approved it unanimously.
In 2014, the town hired Colorado-based Centerline after being dissatisfied with recent cell tower proposals, which included tall structures with external antennas. The company’s study found that improving cellular phone service throughout town was complicated because of the town’s hilly topography and high real estate costs.
The study measured the coverage by the town’s four major carriers, finding that AT&T’s data network covers 75 percent of town, and its wireless voice service covers 66 percent of the town. The carrier lacks coverage in the east, northeast, north, and northwest parts of town, according to Centerline.
“I don’t see this being an issue at all before the Board of Finance and Town Council,” Mallozzi said.
“This is really a huge issue for a lot of people in town and I think it is a good investment to get it right,” Jones said.
Also approved were the hiring of three part-time employees for the town:
Shawn Soljour as Land Use Records Manager in the Land Use Department.
Nicholas Tsacoyannis as a building inspector in the Land Use Department.