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Wilton's Miller-Driscoll Could Get a New Look

WILTON, Conn. – The Miller-Driscoll Elementary School project has been on the table in Wilton since 2006, and the Board of Selectmen heard yet another version of the proposal Monday night.

Miller opened in 1966 and Driscoll in 1969, and then the schools were connected in 1989, said Karen Birck, the Board of Education’s secretary. “We have reached the point where the cumulative effect of the needed upgrades at this site create a certain urgency.”

Some of the reasons the town is discussing renovations to the school involve asbestos in the ceiling and walls, the lack of a sprinkler system and leaks in the roof. The school is also asking to expand its preschool program.

But the Statement of Requirements, or project proposal, reads like it is a request for a new building, said First Selectman Bill Brennan. He was concerned that the proposal outlined only what the schools were asking for and didn’t include what the school already had. “That bothered me,” he said. As he read the proposal, he said it sounded like a request for a new school, not for renovations.

“Anyone can look at the SOR and say if we’re going to adopt it, we have to build a new school,” said Selectman Ted Hoffstatter. If building a new school isn’t an option, he added, then there needs to be a new proposal.

Birck said they had tried to be objective, writing only the vision for the proposal and “not propose a solution.” The only suggestion was that the final decision be for the long term, Birck said.

In previous meetings, the project has been budgeted as costing the town $40 million. “I don’t want the town to put millions of dollars into the building and feel it still doesn’t work,” Birck said. Hoffstatter agreed with her.

“We all want the best for our children, but we have to have some balance for the whole thing,” Brennan said.

The board decided to send the proposal to the Council of Public Facilities for its opinion. Council Chairman Malcolm Whyte asked the board how to read the proposal – as a document requesting a new building or simply answering the board’s questions.

“We’ve got a wonderful document put together,” Brennan said. “We’ve got to have as many eyes on this as possible.”

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