SOUTHINGTON — Parents with children at DePaolo and Kennedy middle schools were able to ask questions and raise concerns regarding the $89.7 million renovation project during an informational session Wednesday night at Derynoski School.
School officials, building committee members and the architects and construction managers of the project were there to address questions parents had before school starts next Thursday, Aug. 28.
As parents walked in they were handed a double-sided sheet of paper outlining student drop-off areas and bus loops at both middle schools.
Brian Goralski, school board chairman and a member of the building committee, told parents that the contractors worked hard to have the schools prepared for students and faculty next week.
“Safety is a big concern for us,” he said.
Then he asked how many parents had incoming sixth-grade students. Nearly all the people in the audience raised their hands. There were more than 50 people at the information session, which was organized by School Superintendent Tim Connellan.
Before the session was opened up to the public, Chris Palmier, vice chairman of the building committee, started the discussion with a PowerPoint presentation of the site plan, floor plan, parent drop-off locations, school safety, and more. Parents were also able to see some photos of new classrooms, photos of ongoing construction, and photos of some of the rooms that have been remediated.
He also pointed out the construction areas using the schools’ site plans.
“It is completely fenced off, students don’t have access to that area,” Palmieri said.
One parent, David Jordan, asked about some of the building materials being used and if they are harmful to the students.
“How much testing was done on all these brand-new building materials?” asked Jordan, whose son Delaney Jordan is going into sixth-grade at DePaolo.
Fred Cox, the former director of operations for the district who is working as a consultant for the project, said the state doesn’t allow the use of any highly volatile organic chemicals.
Angela Cahill, the project manager with architectural firm Fletcher Thompson, added that the firm also has contractors submit verifications with the project materials to verify they are compliant with state standards.
“Is there any possibility the construction workers will have interaction with the students?” asked Eloise Pagan. Her daughter Arianna DiNapoli will be entering sixth grade at Kennedy.
“All workers have undergone background checks to be on site,” said Palmeiri.
If construction workers have to move around the building, they are accompanied by a project manager, he added.
Other questions included drop-off locations, what classrooms are available, construction on the cafeterias and others.
Another parent, Georgia Sullivan, wanted to make sure her son Jackson, who was starting sixth grade at DePaolo, would understand when he’s getting lockers.
“When are they going to get their lockers? Who will show where lockers are?” she asked.
Palmieri and Frank Pepe, the principal at DePaolo, said it often depends on the individual teachers when students will be introduced to their lockers.
Officials encourage parents to visit www.southington.org, the town website, for more information and updates in the following weeks.
Maps of both buildings and homeroom assignments will be sent out to parents Friday.