Many Trumbull school buildings need work, architecture firm says

Photo of Amanda Cuda

TRUMBULL — Though the school district has done a good job of maintaining its buildings, there's room for improvement.

That was the gist of a report presented during Tuesday's Board of Education meeting by the Hartford-based firm Tecton Architects. Two representatives spoke about their progress in implementing a master plan to refurbish the schools.

Jeff Wyszynski, principal at Tecton Architects, spoke about the work done so far, which included site visits and assessments of all the schools.

"One observation about many of the buildings is that no building has received a comprehensive, like-new renovation and that’s an important piece when you get into conversations about reimbursement and maximizing dollars from the state," he said.

Board chair Lucinda Timpanelli said that, in fact, Trumbull High School had undergone such renovations but the project was cut short with a few items left to go because "the money was pulled."

Wyszynski said the fact that work has been done at Trumbull High was reflected in the report. During the presentation, Wyszynski said one of the things Tecton did was an age assessment of all the school buildings. The average age of a school in Trumbull was 54 years.

The "youngest" building was Trumbull Early Childhood Education Center, at 17 years old. The oldest was the Long Hill Administration building, where the Board of Education meets, at 102 years old.

The report also identified issues at the various school buildings. For instance, Wyszynski said, there's a space issue at Booth Hill School. "They're using every square inch," he said, adding that some former closets in the building are being used as intervention rooms.

Though Madison Middle School was identified as having a "good layout," it was also said to have such problems as poor climate control and a poorly located media center.

At Trumbull High School, the report read, there was a need to " revisit and identify portions of work that were not completed during last renovation (doors, terrazzo repairs, portables, etc.)," among other issues. 

Tecton representatives didn't just look at the spaces. They also spoke with principals and others affiliated with the schools to assess their needs, said Tecton architectural designer Antonia Ciaverella. Conversations with those who work in the schools are crucial to these kinds of projects, she said.

"As we have these conversations, we like to think big and think small in a way," she said. "We like to hear the visions and aspirations, but we also like to hear the challenges."

Moving forward, Wyszynski said, Tecton is looking to interact more with the community and hear their ideas. They will have a series of informational meetings, the first of which will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at Booth Hill School. The topic of that meeting will be "Conditions, Utilization and Thinking Big."

Superintendent Martin Semmel said at the start of the meeting that he was looking forward to Tecton's presentation. "It's my hope that the community really engages around (this work)," he said.

Editor's note — This story has been updated after the school board rescheduled the first informational meeting.