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Pass the February 14th Referendum!

Why?

Why does the Board of Education recommend that this project

be done now?

Enrollment across the Ellington Public Schools increased twenty

percent over the last decade and is projected to increase by another

twenty percent over the upcoming decade. Quite simply, if we do

not act now, we will not have sufficient space for the elementary

school population. The growth in student enrollment has already led

to significant overcrowding at Windermere School. There are

currently 853 students in the school and enrollment continues to

grow. Intermediate students have limited access to technology as

the computer lab was eliminated to make room for a ninth grade

five classroom.

 

The safety issues created by the current entrance/exit to Crystal

Lake School continue to be of significant concern. At Crystal Lake

School, the core facilities and systems are aging. The gymnasium

floor is cracking, the kitchen has deteriorating asbestos floor tiles,

and the heating system is antiquated and inefficient. Art instruction

takes place in the cafeteria and cannot be scheduled during lunch

periods. Music instruction takes place on the stage in the gym and

cannot be scheduled while physical education classes are being

held.

 

Are there any additional benefits to the community as a result of

this project?

The project includes the construction of two new game/regulationsized

soccer fields which will be available for use by the Recreation

Department. Improvements to the core facility will provide town

organizations with needed meeting space. In addition, Crystal Lake

School will have improved facilities, such as showers and cot

storage, which will allow it to be used as an emergency shelter.

 

Will technology be addressed?

Technology is essential to effective instruction in the 21st century.

The project plan includes technology upgrades in classrooms at

Crystal Lake, which can include interactive “Smart” boards,

enhanced audio-visual systems, wireless computer capabilities, local

and school wide communications, and enhanced internal and

external building security. At the current time, Windermere School

has a single computer lab for 850 students, severely limiting handson

access to technology for students. The reduction in enrollment at

Windermere will allow a room that is currently a general education

classroom to be used as a computer lab.

 

Will the renovated facilities require additional staffing?

Reconfiguring the elementary schools into three K-6 schools will

require two additional teachers, one at grade five and one at grade

six. Other staff members may need to be reassigned to reflect the

change in configuration. Any additional staffing will be the result of

continued growth in enrollment.

 

How will the project address energy efficiency and concerns

regarding green technology?

New State of CT regulations known as “High Performance,”

comparable to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental

Design); “green” technology is a part of any significant renovation

or new construction. The focus is on long term efficiency of the

building’s envelope (roof, walls, windows, doors), fuel

consumption, improved interior environment for air quality,

acoustical control, use of natural daylight with reduced/improved

quality of artificial light. In addition recycling of materials both

during construction and after occupancy will help to teach proper

stewardship of our built environment and the efficient use of limited

resources.

 

Crystal Lake School

Crystal Lake School will be expanded and fully renovated as part

of the reconfiguration from a K-4 to a K-6 school. The proposed

addition of 18,350 sf will provide for a facility totaling 47,950 sf.

The addition will consist of classrooms and student support areas

with a primary entrance/exit for buses, separate from the entrance

for parent drop off and visitors. The existing portions of the school

will receive alterations to support the K-6 educational program,

including a larger cafeteria, new kitchen, and larger media center.

The renovations will include the replacement of all systems

(mechanical, electrical, etc.), increased thermal performance of the

building envelope, full code and accessibility compliance, and

compliance with the State’s High Performance regulations for

energy efficiency and sustainability. The site, recently expanded to

16 acres with the acquisition of the adjacent parcel to the south will

provide increased parking, improved on site traffic flow with

separation of buses, and cars, sewer connection to Route 140, new

playfields and play equipment.

 

Windermere School

Windermere will undergo limited programmatic alterations within

the building footprint to support the change from K-4 with district

wide grades 5 & 6 to a K-6 with full district Pre-K. Spaces will be

converted to Pre-K, computer labs, administration, misc. student

support, and toilet rooms. A new Pre-K play area will be created on

the site. No other site work, nor expansion of the building will

occur.

 

Will the project accommodate Ellington students for the

foreseeable future?

Enrollment and capacity studies indicate that our schools should

support our projected student population through the year 2021.

Members of the Board of Education, as well as members of other

town boards and the community, have been engaged in analyzing

enrollment and facility needs for the school district for a number of

years. The proposed building project is designed to meet the

projected enrollment demands in a cost-effective manner.

 

What would occur if this project is not completed?

If additional classroom space is not constructed, the district would

be required to phase in the use of portable classrooms as enrollment

dictates. Portable classrooms are not cost effective and experience

has shown significant problems related to their use. The town would

also need to begin the expensive process of addressing age related

issues and programmatic deficiencies within the buildings with the

understanding that these upgrades would likely not meet the long

term needs for the buildings.

 

What will the impact on the elementary schools be?

Under the proposed configuration, each of the three elementary

schools will serve students in grades K-6 and will operate on a

common schedule. Additionally, the preschool program currently

housed at Center School will be relocated to Windermere.

 

Why did the Board of Education recommend a two-story

addition to Crystal Lake School?

A two-story addition would preserve some land for a future

expansion if needed, while a single story addition would exhaust the

available footprint and eliminate any flexibility for future expansion

on the property.

Other Information:

Crystal Lake School

 

SAFETY

 

·                     The route 140 entrance/exit has a limited site line and clearly poses a safety hazard.  The architectural firm currently working with the district believes that in any renovation of Crystal Lake School the current driveway will no longer be allowed to be used as an exit.  Hopefully, it will still be approved as an entrance.

·                     The New England School Development Council (NESDEC) report of April 2008 states “The bus and car traffic with pedestrians pose a safety concern.  The existing driveway and sidewalk have some cracked surfaces.  Part of the land adjacent to the access road is owned by the church across the street, with a small historic building near the school, which limits driveway access. The district is encouraged to consider an alternative traffic pattern on the property to improve this situation.”

 

DEFICIENCIES

 

·                     The gymnasium floor is cracking

·                     The kitchen has deteriorating asbestos floor tiles, older equipment, inadequate dry food storage, limited refrigerator and freezer space

·                     There is a lack of sufficient storage

·                     There are no lavatories or sinks inside the kindergarten classroom

·                     There is no running water in the staff room

·                     There is no dedicated space for Occupational/Physical therapy

·                     The heating system is antiquated

·                     Crystal lake School is in need of renovation which would include systems renovations – Fire alarm, Voice, security, lighting, sewer, indoor air quality, technology infrastructure, asbestos removal, ceiling replacement, accessibility, and code

·                     The original structure of the building, built in 1957 , is not ADA compliant

 

 

PROGRAM ISSUES

 

·                     There is no dedicated room for Art instruction as Art is held in the cafeteria

·                     Art instruction cannot be scheduled during lunch periods

·                     Music instruction is on the stage of the gym therefore physical education and music instruction cannot be scheduled at the same time

·                     If an additional classroom is needed for instruction the computer lab would need to be dismantled

 

DISTRICT ENROLLMENT

 

·                     District enrollment increased by twenty percent over the past decade

·                     District enrollment is projected to increase by another twenty percent over the next decade

·                     Windermere School is already over capacity as it has 874 students in a building planned for 800 students

·                     The intermediate school computer lab has already been eliminated to create room for a ninth grade five classroom

·                     An eighteen room addition to the middle school to accommodate grade six is not a feasible alternative

·                     Movement of the pre-school program from Center School to Windermere School is necessary to allow for a kindergarten through grade six configuration at all three elementary schools