Mezzo appoints facility planning committee

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NAUGATUCK — A long term facility planning committee has been appointed to seek ways to improve the borough’s public school system.

Mayor Robert Mezzo obtained the approval from the Board of Mayor and Burgesses Tuesday night to appoint the committee, which he said will take a proactive look at the long-term planning for Naugatuck public-school facilities.

There are currently no plans in place to add a supplementary school to the 11 public schools and two Catholic schools already in existence, but Mezzo feels it’s time to start exploring the idea.

“This is about where we want to be 10 to 15 years from now,” Mezzo said. “I think if we want to look where we should be long term we have to start now, and that’s the intent of this planning committee.”

The committee will look at location, designs, needs, costs, resources and other aspects of a future school building project.

Burgess Mindy Fragoso suggested the group consider building a charter or magnet school, something that has been talked about but never pursued.

“Please take the idea of a charter school or magnet school to the committee,” Fragoso said. “We always take the idea and say, ‘should we, shouldn’t we,’ but I don’t think we’ve ever really looked at it seriously and I think it’s time for us to do that.”

An architectural study conducted by an outside consulting agency last year found some of the existing schools in the borough to be outdated.

No plans are in place to adjust or update any existing buildings and action on a new building may not be made for some time. Mezzo acknowledged the available time as an advantage and said the formation this committee indicates the borough is being proactive.

“We’re always reacting around here. It’s time to take a look where we want to be down the road,” Mezzo said. “They have the advantage of time here. Putting together the funding for these things takes years at a time, but this would be a way of taking a very analytical look at the situation with a good group of people.”

A similar committee was created in 2000 to discuss possible school additions. Mezzo, who was on that committee, said the newly appointed members may revisit the findings and studies of by that group.

The group appointed by Mezzo includes Burgess Robert A. Neth, Board of Education member Barbara Lewis, Borough Attorney N. Warren “Pete” Hess, parents Phil Zembruski and Shannon Lopes, and Board of Finance member Diane Scinto.

Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson and borough controller Wayne McAllister, who also serves as interim school business manager, will serve as ex officio members.