On Sept. 23 and 27, the Wilton Democratic Town Committee urges residents to vote YES and support the Miller-Driscoll Renovation Project.

Over the past year and a half, the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee worked hard to craft for residents a renovation plan that would address critical infrastructure upgrades and transform the building to better accommodate educational programming both now and in the future, all while ensuring that the project would be fiscally sound. The proposal before voters next week accomplishes these goals.

Miller-Driscoll is in so many ways the gateway to our town. It is where children embark on their journey in the public schools, forming the educational and social foundations that they will rely on through graduation at Wilton High School and beyond. It is where many parents first become involved in the public schools, developing new relationships with other parents and working together in support their children and school. It is where prospective homebuyers look to help decide whether or not Wilton is the best place to raise their family.

The Miller-Driscoll project takes a 1960’s-era school building and transforms it into a building consistent with the exceptional quality of instruction housed under its roof. A designated wing for pre-K, a more centralized floor plan, and improved campus layout (parking, playgrounds, courtyard, etc.) are all enormous strengths of the proposal. Equally important are much-needed investments in a new and energy-efficient HVAC system, roof, electrical systems and flooring.

The Building Committee and elected officials have done their due diligence to ensure that residents are getting the most value out of their tax dollars. The cost of the project is significant, but mirrors the scope of the investment. As has been presented and discussed, the costs of alternatives such as a new school building or an incremental approach will only cost the town more in the long run. Inaction would be even more costly.

The Wilton Democratic Town Committee believes strongly in the importance of providing our children with access to a quality public education. The new Miller-Driscoll will empower our students, teachers, parents – and community – to support the best possible education for the next generation of Wiltonians. We hope you will join us in supporting the project at the Special Town Meeting next week.

Thomas Dec

The author is the chair of the Wilton Democratic Town Committee

One reply on “OP ED: Wilton Democrats Urge Support for Miller-Driscoll Renovation”

  1. So, for $50,000,000.00 the town gets 15 new preK classrooms, a new kitchen, and gussied up entrance ways. Sensible and informed voters realize there is space at Comstock, previously designed for students, for preK, that new windows cost 500 thousand, that new HVAC and roofing costs 3 million, new wifi costs 1 thousand tops per room, new kitchen equipment costs 200 thousand.

    So where does the rest of the $45,000,000.00 go?

    They show a chart indicating a reduced debt service burden as existing debt is retired. Someone noticed and said, this is not right, we have to borrow more. So they looked around and decided a new town hall campus was a no-go, but MD looked like an opportunity. So instead of fixing the fundamental roof, HVAC issue, they decided to borrow 44 million…

    Why? Simply because cutting taxes is not an option for folks in government…

    Ed Papp

    Become an informed voter…consider viable alternatives.
    Why not build New for 330 per sq ft as other towns have done? Better than spending much more than that and exposing children to toxic materials in the process! Vote smart!
    ETP September 16, 2014 at 7:22 am
    Bruce,
    All the literature points to significantly lower construction costs than proposed here in Wilton. A new elementary school built in Alexandria Va for 46 million at 97,000 sq ft. See http://apsva.us/newes1 includes hard and soft costs.
    Please don’t say ” well, we are Wilton, so we must spend more than anyone else.!,
    The Town of Wilton Requires all participants to sign an ethics statement. This is not my requirement, it is a town requirement. Where are they? Are all participants barred from participating in the construction in any way? Don’t act indignant, just answer a tax payers question.
    It is NOT irresponsible to be concerned with TOXIC materials. You can claim safeguards but you cannot claim with absolute certainty that it is impossible. As you state, remediation adds costs not incurred when building new. Why take the chance?
    A BRAND NEW four story building could be built on one of the ball fields at MD using off the shelf plans from the national school design organization avoiding toxic material issues, excessive soft costs. Police headquarters could relocate from their cramped quarters to the old MD site offering increased security as well.
    Yes, it is easy to toss numbers. The tossing starts with a 3 million roofing, HVAC project at MD that suddenly devolved to a 50 million adventure in 3 short years. Why ? You stated doing the project “piecemeal” would cost 42 million…where did that number come from? Are there individual bids for the various steps adding to 42 million or is it a guess? I know Hoffman estimated 500, 000 for the envelope, the roof and HVAC come in at 3.5 million ( less if the roof warranties were called). A school in nearby Fairfield replaced all of its exterior doors and windows for $502,000 see
    http://www.richardscorp.com/projects/riverfield.htm
    I do not understand why you immediately disparage documented costs from known, completed projects while holding firm to the credibility of numbers without bids. Are your numbers based on bids? Wilton has the reputation of spending way too much. Let’s end it now.
    Please answer:
    Where are the signed ethics statements?
    Are current participants barred from participating in the build?
    Why not use Comstock, Gilbert Bennett or Montessori for pre K?
    Why not build new on the MD site and repurpose the existing school?
    Why not realize taxpayers are justifiably concerned with the failure of the town to maintain MD?
    Why not understand taxpayers are concerned with a roofing-HVAC project turning into a 50 million drain?
    Why not consider alternatives to the plan you proposed?
    There was scant info given to taxpayers in the past three years. To have this plan suddenly foisted on the community without presenting alternatives is disturbing.
    There was no rush to fix the roof that lead to IAQ issues, so why the rush to sell this BEFORE all options are revealed.
    You have not properly informed the public and they might make the mistake of voting for this without understanding it’s serious questions and issues.
    Ed
    Reply
    ETP September 16, 2014 at 9:24 pm
    Here is a link to another school building project. It is in Mass. Nearby and not that long ago. A brand new High School costing $330 per square foot.
    http://homenewshere.com/wilmington_town_crier/news/article_67b43f6a-beb2-11e0-93d5-001cc4c002e0.html
    Mass has a program where districts are encouraged to use stock, proven designs. They are also encouraged to tweak the stock design to avoid the cookie cutter look. Cuts down on construction costs while enabling a custom look. Smart thinking that would have, will save Wilton tons of money if adopted. Let’s educators focus on teaching, not bricks.
    Reply

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