Grant to pay for school upgrades

NAUGATUCK — A state grant is helping the district pay for some much needed work at borough schools.

Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke announced last week that the district received a $1.46 million grant from the Connecticut Department of Construction Services.

The district received the money as part of a $50 million state grant that was made available to Alliance Districts, which are the 30 lowest-performing districts based on standardized testing.

Locke said the grant is for capital projects that aren’t considered eligible for state reimbursement.

Borough school officials applied for $1.7 million under the grant. The state didn’t approve $245,000 for work at City Hill Middle School, which included replacing the seats in the auditorium, because the work is eligible for reimbursement.

The $1.46 million will be used for projects at six schools — Andrew Avenue Elementary School, Cross Street Intermediate School, Hillside Intermediate School, Hop Brook Elementary School, Maple Hill Elementary School and Western Elementary School.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Chris Montini, who spearheaded the borough’s push to get the grant with Facilities Engineer Mike Lynch and School Business Manager Robert Butler, said repairing the decking for emergency exits at Western Elementary School is among the first projects scheduled to be done.

The projects the district plans to complete over the two-year life of the grant includes replacing the cabinets and closet doors at Andrew Avenue Elementary School, replacing the internal communications system and intercom at Hop Brook Elementary School, and upgrading and repaving the rear entrance at Cross Street Intermediate School.

Montini said the state will distribute the grant money at the end of February. The work will take place throughout the district over the next two years.

Locke said officials worked to ensure that projects were in conjunction with the borough’s long-range plans and current building projects before applying for the grant.

The grant only covers a small portion of Naugatuck’s actual needs for the schools, according to officials.

Locke said the district’s school buildings need about $17 million worth of upgrades.

“The facility needs are great because we have older buildings,” Locke said.

Montini said this grant is a good first step to meeting those needs.

“Our students deserve the highest quality facilities and that’s what we want to provide to them,” Montini said.

The Naugatuck school district received a $1.46 million state grant to complete the following projects:

$470,000 for heating upgrades, cabinet and closet door replacements at Andrew Avenue Elementary School.

$375,000 to replace the internal communications system, repave the asphalt driveway parking lots and curbing and replace three outside emergency exits, including concrete footings, at Western Elementary School.

$303,500 to replace the existing rubber tile cafeteria floor, replace the fire alarm system, repave asphalt in the front entrance and parking lot curbing and upgrade classrooms with rubber tile flooring at Maple Hill Elementary School.

$248,000 to upgrade floor coverings and replace the internal communications system, including bells and intercoms, at Hop Brook Elementary School.

$80,000 to replace the internal communications system at Hillside Intermediate School.

$28,500 to repave the rear entryway at Cross Street Intermediate School.