Officials eye extra projects at NHS

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NAUGATUCK — Borough officials are pleased with the progress being made on the $81 million renovate-to-new project at Naugatuck High School.

In fact, they are so pleased that they are thinking about what extra projects they can do at the high school if the project comes in on time and under budget, as is expected at this point, according to officials.

Burgess Bob Neth, chairman of the high school renovation committee, said at Wednesday’s Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting that there are several items being considered if money allows when the original renovation projects are completed next fall.

Those include the following:

• Adding bleachers at athletic fields.

• Adding air conditioning to the cafeteria.

• Ordering new tables for the cafeteria.

• Building a storage facility for athletic equipment.

• Putting up nets for baseball and softball fields.

• Possibly purchasing five homes in front of the high school on Rubber Avenue to make room for more parking spaces and to give people a better view of the high school.

The final project would only be completed if the homeowners wanted to sell, Neth said.
He said four of the five homeowners are willing to sell and one is not at this point.

Neth has taken some flack recently as someone posted a petition to stop the sale of homes on Change.org, an online site that allows people to petition to make change. The site states it was posted by someone named Nick Sabia and it had 58 followers as of Wednesday night. Neth said there is misinformation on the page.

“First of all, it says we threatened to take the homes,” he said. “I’ve never threatened anyone in my life. If the homeowners want to sell — and, for the record, the owners of four of the five homes have approached us — then we will consider this. We’re not forcing anybody to do anything, and we would never take a property through eminent domain.”

Neth has asked education officials to include the purchase of the homes in the final grant proposal to the state Department of Education. If Naugatuck pays full appraised value for the homes, it would cost $338,000 for the purchase, plus money to raze the houses and pave over the lots. Naugatuck could be reimbursed up to 75 percent of that cost.

While that discussion won’t get serious for a while, Mayor Robert Mezzo said there is some progress being made now at the high school that he is pleased with.

“I think Bob Neth and his entire committee are doing a fantastic job analyzing wants and needs and making sure everything is on time and under budget,” he said. “The time frames are particularly difficult considering you have school in session, but there have been very few issues and it’s exciting to see the changes that are being made.”