Hearing on Region 16 school project set


This artistic rendition portrays the courtyard at Laurel Ledge Elementary School in Beacon Falls after the renovation project. CONTRIBUTED

BEACON FALLS — Residents of Prospect and Beacon Falls will get their chance Wednesday night to share their opinions on a proposed $46.7 million school building project for Region 16.

A public hearing on the project is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday in the media center at Woodland Regional High School. The hearing will start with a presentation on the project followed by an opportunity for the public to speak.

The Board of Education approved the conceptual designs and cost estimates for the project in October.

The project consists of building a new elementary school in Prospect, major renovations to Laurel Ledge Elementary School in Beacon Falls, and a new district office.
The new elementary school is the largest part of the project.

The proposed 85,630-square-foot, pre-K through school will be built on a 49-acre site at 75 New Haven Road in Prospect, known as the Tallmadge Hill Road property. Community and Algonquin schools will be closed and its students will attend the new school.

An artistic rendition of the proposed new school in Prospect. CONTRIBUTED

The proposed school will be a two-story, chevron-shaped building, which is designed to accommodate future expansion. At the heart of the school will be a media center and the main office, with two wings branching off from the center.

The new school carries the largest price tag out of the three projects at an estimated $36.6 million.

Plans for Laurel Ledge include building new corridors to connect all of the buildings at the campus-style school. One science and one music classroom along with two new bathrooms will also be added to the school.

While there will be some new construction at the school, the bulk of the estimated $7.75 million worth of work to be done at Laurel Ledge comes from renovations to the school.

The bathrooms at the school aren’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and are as old as the school, which was built in 1953 with an add-on in 1983. The proposal would also renovate the courtyard.

The school district’s central office will be moved to Algonquin School. The board currently leases office space.

The two-story wing of Algonquin would be demolished and replaced with parking. The remaining portion will be renovated for office space with an all-purpose room for school and community events. The annex at the school would be saved for future use.

This design shows how Algonquin Elementary School in Prospect will be turned into district offices for Region 16. CONTRIBUTED

The cost to make Algonquin in the district office is estimated at $2.4 million, with the majority of the costs coming from demolishing and abating the two-story wing.

In total, the project is anticipated to cost $46.7 million. The district’s state reimbursement rate is 68 percent on the project. After factoring in state reimbursement, the total cost to Beacon Falls and Prospect is projected to be about $19.7 million. The $19.7 million will be divided along the same ratio as the school budget with Prospect covering about 60 percent and Beacon Falls about 40 percent.

If everything goes as planned, construction at Laurel Ledge and the new school would begin in the spring of 2013 and be finished in August of 2014. Work on the district office project would start in July of 2014 and take about six months to complete.