Weston Plans To Examine Use Of School, Town Buildings In 2014

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Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein
Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTON, Conn. – From building a new police station to consolidating the school buildings, Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein is focused on the town's facilities in 2014.

One of her biggest concerns is the police station and the department's need for more space. “They need a new police headquarters, or at the very least they need a renovation,” Weinstein said in an interview.

The Town of Weston has been working with the Police Department in looking at what would need to be done if they renovated and where a building would go if they decided to start new. They are also looking at the option of putting an addition on to the annex building for the police department.

In addition to the department's space needs, Weinstein said the schools have too much space and may need to reconfigure how it uses its buildings.

“We have employees who have been in a temporary building that was supposed to last 10 years for 14,” Weinstein said.  

She and town officials have been working with the Board of Education and the superintendent to determine the best option.

One possibility is to move the second grade from Hurlbutt Elementary to Weston Intermediate School, and then to completely cut off an area of Hurlbutt to use as space for school or town employees.

“We aren’t co-mingling,” Weinstein said. Under this plan, there would be a complete separation of adults and town offices from the children and the school.

As for the town budget, Weinstein said that after six years of flat taxes, residents should expect to see an increase in their property taxes and in the mill rate. This is due to the recent revaluation and the increasing costs of health insurance.

“We could be looking at a significant increase,” she said of the health care costs for the town. 

Weston could also be looking at adding new town employees after six years of reducing staff in every department, increasing the town budget in that way.

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Weston Students First defines co-mingling as the use of any school facility where students are located by non-school related personnel during school hours. By definition, locating school or town employees in a school is co-mingling. Allowing unlimited access to the public to anywhere on the school property decreases school security. If you cannot control access to the school facility, how can the school be secure?

Mr. Ronald Stephens, Executive Director of the National School Safety Center and a nationally recognized expert on school security, spoke to WSF specifically about Weston’s space study: “Incorporating city business services on or adjacent to the school grounds will significantly increase vehicular traffic, diminish air quality, pose potential traffic safety risks for children and compromise the security of the school.”

There are other options for housing town employees currently located in the Town Hall Annex. Why is the Town of Weston determined to risk the safety of our students and the value of our schools?