Region 16 board takes first step toward capital project

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

Region 16 officials are planning a capital project at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls that includes replacing the school’s track. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Region 16 Board of Education is moving forward with a capital project to improve athletic facilities at Woodland Regional High School.

The bulk of the proposed project consists of replacing the track around the football field, repairing and adding drainage at the football field, replacing the runways and pits for track events like the long jump, and replacing the fence around the track.

Officials are also looking to replace the deck drains, filters and diving board in the pool, replace the gymnasium floor, renovate the weight room and buy new exercise equipment.

The board, which oversees public schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, voted Oct. 13 to start interviewing architects to design the project. The board also appointed attorney Glenn Rybacki of the firm Pullman & Comley the bond counsel for the project.

“We want to move forward with this and this is the next step in the process,” Vice Chairman Robert Hiscox said.

Anthony DiLeone, director of finance and business operations for the region, said in an email the fee for bond counsel is estimated to range from $12,500 to $17,500, depending on whether short-term borrowing will be needed to cover the soft costs of the project, like architectural and engineering costs. The fee won’t be known until officials get an idea of how much these services will cost, he said.

The project is the preliminary stages. There are no cost estimates for the work at this point. After an architect is hired to design the project, the plans and costs will become clearer.

The track is as old as the school — 20 years — and the board has consistently put money into repairs over recent years. The gym floor is starting to split in areas, and the weight room hasn’t been updated since the school opened, officials have said.

When officials first introduced the proposed project in September, it didn’t include improvements to Woodland’s pool. The board previously approved $80,000 to repair drainage around the pool, but after more inspection it was determined additional repairs are needed, according to minutes of an Oct. 6 meeting of the board’s the facilities committee.

Ultimately, voters in the region will have to approve borrowing money for the capital project at a referendum. Officials expect it will take several months before the project goes to a referendum.