Borough joint boards back plan for NHS roof replacement

In this 2011 photo, Naugatuck High School head custodian Mike Segetti looks over solar panels built into the school’s roof as part of a replacement project in 2008. The panels recently failed. Officials say the roof has to be replaced. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials last week gave final approval to a plan to create a property and casualty loss reserve fund and bond money to replace the roof at Naugatuck High School.

Officials discovered earlier this year that the photovoltaic solar panels on the roof weren’t working properly and disconnected them, but they still pose a threat since they are constantly producing electricity. The panels were built into the roof when it was replaced about nine years ago, and officials say the entire roof now needs to be replaced at an estimated cost of $4.5 million.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses, the Board of Finance, and the two boards acting jointly approved creating the fund and bonding up to $4.5 million during special meetings April 22.

Some officials were skeptical about how much the borough should actually bond for the project.

“I don’t know if I want to put a $4.5 million price tag on it. We will be doing the same thing the state is doing — bonding and putting in down on younger generations. I would like to say that we will use other avenues to keep the bonding to a minimum,” Burgess Carl Herb said.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the borough plans to also use money from the fund balance and surplus from this fiscal year’s budget, and possible state funding for the project.

“No one wants to bond that much money, and I don’t think we will. But we are going to have to enter into a contract to pay for a roof at that number,” Hess said.

Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke said the Board of Education expects to hear from the state by the second week of May about getting some reimbursement for the project.

The creation of the property and casualty loss reserve fund allows the borough to bond money directly into it without having to go to a referendum. Officials say this is necessary because the roof project is on a tight timeline. The work is expected to start shortly after the last day of school on June 10, and officials want to complete it before students return next school year.