Naugatuck High set for 're-opening'

Photo courtesy of Paul Singley
October 14, 2015

Renovations near the finish line

Naugatuck High School alumni can expect to a see a renovated school building that they won't recognize next month during homecoming festivities.

The school has scheduled a "re-opening" of the high school between 5 and 7 p.m. on Nov. 25. The public is invited to tour the building at 543 Rubber Ave.

"By that point, we are expecting to be about 99 percent done with the project," NHS Principal Janice Saam said.

"We might have a few punch list items to complete, but otherwise, it will be pretty much completed."

November will mark four years since officials held a groundbreaking ceremony in front of the school. Since then, there have been a few hiccups in construction through the $81 million renovate-to-new project, but officials say they are more than satisfied with the final product and are proud to show it off.

Burgess Robert A. Neth, who leads the NHS Renovation Committee, said he believes the renovations will be completed on time and under budget. He said audited cost totals will not be complete for a while after the project is complete, so exact monetary figures will not immediately be available.

Still, he said, he does not expect any surprises.

The committee has been pleased with the development team from Torrington-based O&G Industries, Inc., and the architects from Kaestle Boos in New Britain, Neth said.

Nearly every square inch of the school has been updated in some way.

There are modern looking classrooms with Smartboard technology, new wooden desks and chairs, and dry-erase boards.

The athletic facilities have undergone a massive transformation, so much so that the workout facilities mirror those at many colleges and universities.

The library media center is currently undergoing transformations, as is the auditorium and a new Board of Education office complex. Officials expect those will be completed by the end of the year.

Since construction began, have been some setbacks that officials say they have worked out with O&G and Kaestle Boos. For example, swimming parents were upset because there were initially obstructed views in the pool. The committee overseeing the project spent about $120,000 to trim load-bearing beams to enhance the view, though parents say there are still minor sight issues. O&G also added about 40 seats, bringing the total seating area to 299.

The committee will purchase oscillating fans to remove condensation that builds up on windows in the pool area.

An additional $400,000 was spent to replace boilers that were only 14 years old because they were not working properly. And $450,000 was put toward installing air conditioning in the cafeteria that had been put off in previous cafeteria expansion projects. Neither of those were in the initial plans and were paid through the project's contingency account.

The borough received approval from voters four years ago to complete renovations. The state agreed to reimburse 74.6 percent of the project, which was slightly more than the borough had anticipated.

Read the original story on the Republican-American website.