Each firm presented a conceptual design and initial estimated costs for maintaining the existing FHS, renovating FHS as new, and building a new FHS facility. For a quick comparison of all the conceptual designs, take a look at this review chart.
The “Maintain-Only Option” (estimated at approximately $46 million net municipal cost) fails to address the vast majority of needs at the current high school, including safety and security, space and facilities, curriculum implementation and energy efficiency. It fails to meet all local, State, and Federal requirements and would necessitate significant additional funding over the next several years to continue to address the ongoing issues at the school. It would be yet another “Band-Aid” approach.
While addressing much more of the needs of the current high school, the “Renovate Option” (estimated at approximately $97 million to $99 million net municipal cost) would impose significant disruption to students and teachers, placing them directly in a construction zone for several years. Additionally, once other factors were considered – including the likelihood of needing to address unknown issues that could be discovered during a renovation – it was deemed that potential cost savings might not actually be realized.
After careful consideration, the FHS Building Committee voted unanimously on January 29, 2020, to recommend the construction of a new facility as designed by TSKP. This “New Build Option” fully addresses all the needs of the current high school, now and well into the future. A new building will also not be disruptive to teaching and learning during construction. At $109.3 million net municipal cost, it is the most cost-effective way to create a functional, supportive space for our students, our teachers, and our town.
Town Council subsequently voted unanimously on February 4, 2020 to accept that recommendation. We livestreamed this meeting for the community, and you can watch it if you missed it. Town Council has upon several occasions since reiterated its unanimous and enthusiastic support. Additionally, the Board of Education has provided its unanimous and enthusiastic support numerous times as well, most recently at their May 3, 2021 meeting.