New School FAQ

Questions and Answers from the 9/26 Public Engagement Forum 


Q:  We have approved a $78M budget. How can we be guaranteed there will not be a budget over run? 

A:  The budget was carefully developed pre-referendum by the Architects to account for all aspects of building a new school.  To access more capital is only possible through another town referendum to approve additional funds. The contract for design services includes the provision of a professional construction cost estimate at the major milestones of the project (schematic design, design development, construction documents). These estimates will be reconciled with independent ones performed by the construction manager, and adjustments will be made as required to the design, to ensure compliance with the project budget.


Q:  If we have tremendous growth, will the school be prepared for the additional students?

A: Updated demographic projections were completed in August, and the program for the building has been developed to accommodate these numbers. The conceptual design was planned with the potential to expand in the future. An additional 12 classrooms are able to be added to prepare the school for any future unprojected increase of students, and provisions are being made to provide flexibility throughout the building.

 

Q:  We have a wonderful garden at HHES which integrates with the curriculum. Could you speak to if that will be recreated, and where will it incorporated? 

A: At this time there are several areas that are being considered in the design phase for outdoor classroom space. A garden similar to what exist now at HHES can certainly be incorporated.  HHES currently has an elevated outdoor classroom area that does not receive substantial use. This is a property feature, that will not be affected by the new school and could be utilized as well.

 

Q:  I am hoping the space allotted for art will be adequate. I would hate to see Art on a Cart. 

A: The arts are intentionally planned for in the new school. Each “wing”, primary and upper will have their own art studios and music rooms. The Educational Specifications approved by the BOE include rehearsal/multi purpose rooms to handle large group practices which also feature small tutorial music lessons as well.  

 

Q:  I would like to know the field availability during construction.  Soccer and baseball leagues need to coordinate their schedules accordingly.

A: The architects have met with school administration, including the athletic director and superintendent as well as the parks and recreation leadership. As design concepts evolve and the reality of the plans and schedules emerge, the departments will work together and with the various leagues to ensure the least disruptive, short term solution. We are currently exploring whether the field construction can be separated from the balance of the project without any impact to the budget.  If this is possible, it may alleviate any availability issues.


Q:  Member of the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) and suggested Tecton meet with the commission. 

A: Tecton has already met with the Town Department Heads and is planning to meet with the Water Authority.

 

Q:  I am concerned about chlorides in the water. Where is your water supply going to be coming from?

A: There are several concepts being discussed. The project budget includes funds to build new wells for the school.  However, with the Town in communication with Aquarion and Eversource/SCG and considering bringing water and natural gas up candlewood lake road, it may be possible for the school to be connected to the would be public water supply.

 

Q:  I would like more detail on the Emergency Shelter provisions plan. 

A: While not designated as an official emergency shelter, the intent is to have public assembly spaces available for use by the public during times when relief is needed. It is assumed that the gym spaces will be used for sleeping, and access to showering facilities and cot storage will be provided. Dining will be available in the cafeteria, and the kitchen will be capable of being used for providing meals.

 

Q:  Many years ago, this property was a slaughterhouse. Will you be testing the soil?

A: Geotechnical borings will be performed, once the location/size of the building’s footprint is more determined.

 

Q:  I am concerned about the traffic flow. Will the hours be staggered for the different grades?

A: A traffic study will be performed, once the layout of access drives and parking is more determined. The results of the traffic study will be considered as one factor in the calculus to stagger the start times or have the entire school begin at the same time. It is important to remember that the Healthy School Start Time Committee will be addressing start times for the entire district over the next year or so. Furthermore, the transportation company and the costs of bussing are integral to all of these decisions.

 

Q:  I would like to know more about the precautions taken for students in and around the building during construction. 

A: One of the major factors influencing the decision to build a new school was the benefit of not disrupting learning for 18 months and the fact that no subcontractors would be working within the existing school while children were in attendance. A secondary access road is planned to allow for work trucks and supplies to the back of the school property, thus avoiding the parking lot, playground and bus areas. Once on board, the construction manager will develop the site logistics plan during construction. Safety of all users throughout the entire process will be a primary consideration.

 

Q:  What are the pros and cons of a “Living Roof”?

A:  Tecton will provide additional information on the positives and negatives of the green roof at the next public forum.


Q:  There is only one open space on the west side of Brookfield for passive recreation. I am concerned about losing it. 

A: The 8 Nabby Road property will be developed only as allowed by the Warranty Deed.  It is expected that the new design will accommodate the existing giving garden, without affecting it.

 

Q:   Could you provide more detail and trend studies on the environmental and sustainability costs now, and over the lifetime of the project?

A: Tecton will provide additional information on the long term benefits of the sustainable design approaches at the next public forum.




Q & A From Spring 2019:

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Referendum

School Size & Design

Site

Safety

Energy Sources

Sports Fields

Administration & Staffing

What’s Included in The Cost?

Other Capital

Savings, Taxes, and Debt Service

Project Timeline and Communication



REFERENDUM


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SCHOOL SIZE & DESIGN


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  1. How was the size of the facility determined? 10-19-18

  2. Will there be windows into the enclosed outdoor gathering area? Are they in classrooms and, if so, will this be a disruptive factor? 10-19-18

  3. Is there an adequate amount of space allotted for PE, music, and art classrooms? 10-19-18

  4. Will there be playgrounds on site in addition to the enclosed play courtyard and gathering space? 10-19-18

  5. Will there be space for outdoor gym class? 10-19-18

  6. The mock up of the new building only seems to have one gym. It seems unlikely that one gym would be adequate for the 900 plus students. I think that two full size gyms and a 2/3 or 3/4 size room would be enough to continue the PE program as it currently is. 10-27-18

  7. Why was option 6B not considered? In my opinion that was a far superior choice for many reasons. I think creating such a large student body within one building is a big mistake…10-27-18

  8. There is clearly not enough classrooms for gym, art or music. Will there be another draft of the plans? 10-27-18

  9. Will the final school plans be made available to view before the referendum? 10-27-18

  10. How many students does the cafeteria allow? 10-27-18

  11. New school looks great.  In the plans I have seen I am unable to tell where/what the PT/OT space looks like. Is there a plan for that space? 1-16-19


SITE


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  1. Is the second access road detailed on the site plan a requirement? Is the cost for this included in the project budget? Does the town have to buy the property? 10-19-18

  2. Taking into consideration that there is a flood plain located on site, has soil testing been done? 10-19-18

  3. I see that the new school is on a flood plain. When was the last time that area flooded? Is there a plan in place for if/ when that area does flood? 10-27-18



SAFETY


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  1. I was so excited to view and hear about the new school plans at the meeting Tuesday evening!! All great ideas and visions. I do have a few questions pertaining to the safety of the building. As an educator myself, I don’t take lightly to keeping schools safe. My concern is with the designated outside areas that are enclosed throughout the communities on the plan. Yes that would make for a safe outside environment, but I can’t help but wonder if an emergency were to arise and their was a fire or gunmen, how would the children be able to evacuate that area if the fire/gunmen were to enter that area from within the school and say open fire? It’s a scary scenario, but being trapped with no exit to the outside area accept back through the school is scarier in a crisis situation. Sorry for the horrifying scenario, but when Sandy Hook occurred, children literally ran from the school to the fire house and neighbors. I would want my child to be able to run from an enclosed area as fast as possible too. My other safety question has to do with bullet proof glass. Will the school entrance and ground floor windows be equipped with bullet proof glass? The classroom doors are of concern too. Their are doors made now that close and lock automatically, will their be some new improved doors in the classrooms that will be able to do this in emergency situations? Also, will there be a designated area in the classrooms to take shelter besides in a bathroom or closet? I would greatly appreciate more information pertaining to the safety aspect of the plans. I would love to see them mapped out in the plans! 10-27-18

  1. Since the building will be heated by natural gas, is there a plan in place to be able to evacuate all of the children outside of a blast radius quickly should a leak occur? 10-27-18



ENERGY SOURCES


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  1. Is there consideration to include solar energy in the new project? Are there rebates available if we do this? 10-19-18

  2. Is heating oil used as the fuel source for the energy figures? 10-19-18

  3. Have the new school buildings' site orientation been planned so that there can be maximum use of solar roof panels ? Will there be plenty of southwest facing roofs? 1-11-19

  4. Will the aesthetic exterior design of the school and the building materials strive to lower energy costs over the long term ?  Will the school have a high LEED rating 1-11-19

  5. In the same vein, do you already have specific ideas in mind and have factored in any initial costs to achieve this goal? 1-11-19




SPORTS FIELDS


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  1. What is the plan for sports fields’ utility during the 18 months of construction, before those fields are reestablished in their new location on site? 10-19-18




ADMINISTRATION & STAFFING


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  1. What will the administrative structure of the new building look like? 10-19-18



WHAT HAPPENS WITH CENTER SCHOOL?


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  1. Is consideration made in the 10‐year plan for refurbishing CES? 10-19-18

  2. In the preferred option “C” it states “Repurpose of Center School” Could you explain in greater detail exactly what that means? As and available asset once the project is completed I would think that it would be utilized financially in some fashion to help pay for the overall project reducing the financial burden on the residence of Brookfield. 10-27-18



NEEDS AT OTHER SCHOOLS


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  1. When are the upgrades proposed for WMS to be addressed? 10-19-18

  2. Will necessary capital improvements still be undertaken as needed at BHS and WMS? 10-19-18


OTHER OPTIONS


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  1. Why was option 6b not considered? In my opinion that was a far superior choice for many reasons. I think creating such a large student body within one building is a big mistake. 10-27-18



WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE COST?


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  1. What determines the 18.25% soft costs associated with the project? 10-19-18

  2. Is the cost of the generator upgrade and shower facilities added to enable the school to be used as an emergency shelter included in the project budget? What are these costs? 10-19-18

  3. Is the second access road detailed on the site plan a requirement? Is the cost for this included in the project budget? Does the town have to buy the property? 10-19-18

  4. Is there an adequate amount of space allotted for PE, music, and art classrooms? 10-19-18

  5. Will there be playgrounds on site in addition to the enclosed play courtyard and gathering space? 10-19-18

  6. Have these "soft costs" been factored in already for the art room(s)? -large lockable cabinets to store paints and other art supplies. -one or more large, laundry sinks. -special ventilation fans to remove paint fumes. -large built in counters that are very durable and cleanable. -black out curtains to allow maximum projection screen viewing. 1-11-19



OTHER CAPITAL


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  1. Does this project impact or prevent us from other improvements or projects, such as the police radios? 10-19-18

  2. Is consideration made in the 10‐year plan for refurbishing CES? 10-19-18

  3. Will necessary capital improvements still be undertaken as needed at BHS and WMS? 10-19-18



SAVINGS, TAXES, AND DEBT SERVICE


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  1. Will the debt service for the project decrease as other debt is paid off? 10-19-18

  2. What are the annual cost savings described? 10-19-18

  3. When would a homeowner first see a tax impact of the new school project? 10-19-18

  4. In the preferred option “C” it states “Repurpose of Center School” Could you explain in greater detail exactly what that means? As and available asset once the project is completed I would think that it would be utilized financially in some fashion to help pay for the overall project reducing the financial burden on the residence of Brookfield. 10-27-18

  5. Just a thought, my family and I moved here from Yonkers, NY where there is a transfer tax imposed on sale of homes could something similar happen? Let's be realist here if we build a state of the art high tech building everyone's home value will increase as there will be greater demand to move in. So impose say a 1.5% school tax on the sale of private home and 3% school tax of the sale of commercial properties larger than 2 units, Developers should not reap the rewards of the hard work the town's people are putting into this project. Not saying this will be a solution to the large debt this town is going to undertake, but possibly some financial assistance. 10-27-18

  6. It was quoted that approximately $200,000 in taxpayer costs will be reduced because we are closing 2 schools, however, Center School will be re-purposed, and thus still be a tax payer expense. Where is this $200,000 taxpayer savings coming from? 10-27-18

  7. How much does each resident pay for the new school project? We need to plan ahead...how much are taxes going to increase in 2022? 1-17-19

  8. Governor Lamont has recently stated that he plans to decrease large investments statewide, including new school construction.  What does that mean for Brookfield and the New School Project? 2-13-19




PROJECT TIMELINE AND COMMUNICATION


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  1. What is the timeline/schedule for this proposal? 10-19

  2. Will there be a primary spokesperson for the project, and a communication plan to garner community support for the referendum? 10-19-18

  3. Will the final school plans be made available to view before the referendum? 10-27-18

  4. The town website for the new school just had a pop up of a Town Meeting for Jan.15.  Where and when will it be and will there be discussion of the new school? 1-11-19

  5. If the referendum is passed in March 2019, when and where will detailed plans be available for public comment? Will the architects be willing to alter any of their plans? Will the construction company chosen be allowed be alter the architects' plans in any major way? 1-11-18