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Plan for Wilton School Renovation Needs More Work

WILTON, Conn. — The outline for renovations at Miller-Driscoll School got low marks from the Wilton Council on Public Facilities, which agreed Thursday that the document from the Board of Education is incomplete and needs to be reworked.

The renovations planned for the building coupled with the addition of a preschool could cost Wilton $40 million, by far the biggest capitol project the town has ever done. The school building currently has maintenance issues, including a roof that needs repairs.

The council is sending the plan back to the school board and the Board of Selectmen with the suggestion that almost all of the Statement of Requirement, or project outline, be reworked.

“The SOR is presented to the architect and it must signal to the architect what the client wants,” council member Bruce Hampson said. He said, for example, that a single line in the statement says “replace HVAC system” but gives no direction on what type of system to replace it with or the extent of work to be done.

According to council Chair Malcolm Whyte, the only complete part of the statement involves the outline for the addition of the new preschool. “That hasn’t changed since I first read it three years ago and is very complete,” Whyte said. It includes a detailed room-by-room breakdown of what is needed, but the rest of the statement has little direction for architects or engineers to follow.

One concern presented and debated by the council was whether to renovate the building or simply build a new one, although the idea wasn’t something the council would determine until price estimates were generated.

“If it costs as much to renovate this building to where it needs to be as much as a brand new building,” Hampson said. But the board decided that there was not enough information in the plan for an architect or engineer to determine the cost of renovating vs. building.

According to Whyte, the school has some maintenance work scheduled in next year's budget. But the main project won't be put forward to the town until at May 2013 at the earliest.

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