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School renovation plans adjusted in Bethel, cost estimate lowered

Some plans for proposed Bethel school renovations have been revised, lowering the potential cost.  Rockwell Elementary would have had a kindergarten addition under the original design, but the footprint of the building now won't change.  The State Office of School Construction, which could grant up to 45-percent reimbursement on eligible costs, asked the town to see if educational program goals could be reached while not including bumpouts. 


Superintendent of Schools Christine Carver says they went back and looked at how to get that done.  They would have to give up some things to under an alternative layout.  The two classrooms were incorporated into the main floor of the building while the art room was moved to the second floor.  With the revisions, the collaborative spaces were cut and the library was made smaller, which meant the elimination of the maker space and STEM space. 


School officials are working with the town's Fire Marshal on some issues with access to the second floor.  Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms can not be on the second floor, but they can go there for certain things.  According to fire code they there would have to be a dedicated stairwell for them.


But all of the changes lowered the cost estimates about $2.4 million.


Carver says the state Office of School Construction feels Bethel is coming in well prepared and while the buildings are aged, they are well maintained.  She also noted that Bethel doesn't have a declining enrollment.

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Rich Valdes

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