A new “South Stamford” school for kindergarten through 8th grade students is part of a new proposed master facilities’ plan for the city’s schools over the next 10 years. All of the city’s schools “will be touched” in this plan, which ranges from maintenance work at some schools to rebuilding others to closing a few existing schools.
Across the district there’s more than $660 million in “deferred maintenance,” infrastructure needs, and other costs. The full plan can be found on the district’s site.
Kemp Morhardt, of the SLAM Collaborative, which put together the plan, said that this plan aims to “break it down into manageable bites.”
The plan, which spans more than 10 years, estimates that more than $300 million will need to be borrowed by the city, with potential reimbursements and other funding coming from the state, federal government, and public-private partnerships.
“It’s hard to believe we’re actually here today,” Superintendent Tamu Lucero said at the presentation on Feb. 3. “This has been a long time in the making.”
Lucero said that this master facilities plan "really will be our guide for the next 10 years.”
The proposed plan includes:
- A new South Stamford K-8 school featuring 1,050 seats—850 of which will be for Stamford students and the other 200 for students from other districts as part of an interdistrict magnet program.
- A rebuild of the Westhill High School with a proposed capacity of 2,500.
- Major renovations of “about $115 million in deferred maintenance and need” at Stamford High School to be done in two phases.
- The conversion of Hart, Roxbury, and Westover into K-8 schools—the three are K-5 schools. Hart would also move to the Cloonan site.
- Closing Dolan, Cloonan, Toquam, and KT Murphy schools.
- Immediate maintenance, electrical and other short-term work at many schools including Davenport, Stark, Newfield, Northeast, Springdale, and Stillmeadow with other projects coming in the second phase.
- Demolishing and building a new preschool at Lockwood.
- An extension/alteration at Turn of River Middle School.
The plan also relies on “assumed reimbursements” from the state of 95% for Westhill, 80% for Lockwood and the new South Stamford K-8 school, as well as other, smaller state reimbursement for other renovation and maintenance projects.
Members of the Board of Education questioned the assumed numbers and emphasized that there should be a backup option if not all the reimbursements come through.
“The assumed reimbursement rate of Westhill as 95%—that just struck me,” Board Member Andy George said.
Lucero said that the assumption is a “placeholder right now,” but that the city and school district will be working with the state delegation to “get as much reimbursement as possible.”
The district plans to submit multiple grant applications this year, particularly for the South Stamford elementary school, so officials said that will give them some idea of how these projects could move forward.
The next step is multiple community engagement sessions and a survey to give community members the opportunity to weigh in on the project.
Representative Megan Cottrell raised some community concerns that the Cove Island Park site is being considered for the new South Stamford school.
“I don’t think this is going to be a proposal that is going to be met in a friendly way by the neighborhood association,” she said. “I’m surprised this is being considered.”