Sherman roof decision now up to the town, first selectman hopes for peaceful resolution

The Sherman School

The Sherman School

/ Contributed photo

SHERMAN — It will now be up to the voters — again.

For the second time in two months, the residents of Sherman will be voting on how they want to go about replacing portions of The Sherman School roof, which is considered to be in poor condition.

At the Nov. 18 Board of Selectmen meeting, the Board unanimously voted to send the Board of Education’s new roof request to a town meeting.

The request

The school board initially recommended permanently replacing portions of the school roof. At a meeting on Sept. 14, voters unanimously approved funds not to exceed $575,000 for a permanent replacement.

However, the board’s maintenance committee later consulted with the state Office of School Construction Grants and Review, which suggested to repair, rather than replace, the roof sections at this time.

At the Sept. 29 Board of Ed meeting, by a 4 to 3 vote, the board rescinded its prior recommendation for a permanent roof and, instead, recommended patching the roof temporarily while a detailed plan is developed to replace it.

“Ultimately, what we are trying to do is stop the water from penetrating the roof. This is not a long term fix,” Board of Education member Matt Vogt said. “This is a patch in order to buy us time to determine what the long-term fix is going to be. This is a short term fix to stop the water from getting into the building.”

At an upcoming town meeting, at a date that has not yet been announced, the school board will request the town vote to rescind its Sept. 14 decision and instead approve $150,000 to patch the portions of the roof which are failing.

Vogt said that at the meeting, it will be the job of the school board to help residents understand how “we got to where we are now, and how we move forward.”

Bidding

The Board of Education originally endorsed a permanent roof replacement and selected the lowest bidder as Barrett, Inc. for $548,000.

It has since decided to rescind that choice and move forward with the lowest bidder for a temporary fix of the roof.

The town received a total of four bids. The lowest bidder is The Imperial Company in Cromwell, for $142,900.

It’s estimated that a temporary repair is likely to have a minimum lifespan of no less than 24 to 36 months, school officials said.

Tension in town

Over the past few months, the topic of the school roof has caused much tension between town leaders, and First Selectman Don Lowe said he’s hoping for a peaceful resolution.

“We are really wanting a nice relationship with the Board of Ed and we all want to avoid some of the controversy that we’ve had in the past,” Lowe told Hearst Connecticut Media. “We really want to work well together, so if we can be convinced that this is a good plan, then we’ll vote for it.”

Lowe added, however, even if the Board of Selectmen disagree with the plan, “we’re going to disagree politely.”

Once the date of the town meeting is decided, it will be listed on the town’s website, townofsherman.org .

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