GREENWICH — Renovating agricultural and technical education classrooms, adding a new health and wellness center and making the facilities handicapped-accessible are the main components of the school district’s $8.1 million project that will go before voters next month.
Voters go to the polls on Dec. 11 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the primary gymnasium. An informational meeting about the project will take place on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the high school media center.
Superintendent Mark Fish said the current agricultural classrooms are undersized.
“They need more room to continue to grow their program. The high school principal says about 80 percent of our kids take a class there during their high school career,” he said.
The greenhouse would be brought indoors with a small addition to the building. A 3,000 square-foot addition would be built at the front of the building for the new health and wellness center. Fish said the current weight room looks like something out of the 1950s.
“It’s old. It’s dark. It doesn’t have any windows,” he said.
An equal number of boys and girls are now taking physical fitness classes, so Fish said it makes sense to upgrade that space.
“We also know that if you feel good about yourself and you’re healthy and well, you’re a better student,” he said.
The building needs to be made handicapped-accessible. There is no handicapped accessibility from the front entrance and also no way for someone with physical disabilities to get into the current weight room.
Accessibility improvements would be made to all district facilities, including reconstruction of the high school’s main entrance, and handicapped parking would be added.
The project includes maintenance, such as replacing windows, fixing roofs and upgrading plumbing fixtures and bathrooms in the junior high wing of the building.
Some security improvements would be made, including the addition of screens to windows and replacement of doors. The project would install water-filling stations, upgrade the family and consumer science room and add storage space.
Kindergarten playground equipment would be replaced and safe dugouts added for the baseball and softball fields.
The district has some debt service coming off the books, Fish said, so the timing is good to do another project.
Greenwich was fortunate to finish last year with a surplus and put $200,000 aside for this project.
The remaining $7.9 million would be bonded. State building aid would fund 82 percent of the project. The remaining $1.26 million would be the local share, which would add about 1.75 percent to the tax levy.
The owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would see taxes increase by $25 annually, before any exemptions.
If approved by voters, Fish said construction would not start for a couple of years. Final engineering documents have to be drawn up, then the project has to be reviewed by the state, which has a long backlog.
The district’s enrollment is just under 1,000 students, Fish said. Enrollment is holding steady, because the school has a strong program that benefits students’ academic, emotional, social and physical needs, he said.
“I think we’ve got a good project there for the long term well-being of the district,” he said.