July 16, 2014 09:08AM
By MICHAEL SOUZA
Sun Staff Writer
STONINGTON — In a search to determine the best choice for renovating the town’s elementary and middle schools, the K-12 Building Committee is preparing to seek an architectural firm to evaluate the best possible option.
If all goes as planned, a draft request for proposals will be sent to the town selectmen for comments within the next week.
At the committee’s meeting Tuesday night, the discussion centered on the newest suggestion, the possibility of building a new middle school near the high school, and moving elementary school students into the Pawcatuck Middle and Mystic Middle School buildings.
One version of the plan calls for the board’s central offices to be included as part of the new middle school facility. The result would leave an unoccupied central office and three former school buildings: Deans Mill, West Vine Street and West Broad Street.
A second suggestion would examine the practicality of an expanded West Vine Street School instead of using the Pawcatuck Middle School as an elementary school.
Presently, the concepts are simply ideas under consideration.
“We would have to try to fit our programs into each school the best we can,” said Superintendent Van Riley. “Even to the point of moving this wall or that wall to accommodate the students we have.”
A new middle school would also need to meet construction and enrollment requirements that have yet to be made, as well as the proper facilities to educate grades six to eight.
The K - 12 School Building Committee began meeting again in January 2013 after a break of several years, and it began its work by looking at possible improvements for the town’s three elementary school buildings.
The committee focused on expanding and renovating West Vine Street School so that it could accommodate students from both West Vine and West Broad Street schools. Improvements also would be proposed for Deans Mill School.
Superintendent Van W. Riley has since suggested that the district consider the middle school option, and the Board of Education has endorsed the addition of that inquiry to the K-12 committee’s assignment.
Voters would have to approve any plans before going forward.