School board finally accepts Fairchild Wheeler as complete

The Bridgeport school board has finally accepted its five year old Fairchild Wheeler campus as complete, clearing the way for the city to collect up to $5 million in bonding held back by the state. The school is adjacent to Route 25 on land formerly located in Trumbull.

The approval, came on a 6-0 vote by the board on the condition that a number of flaws — from roof issues to settlement cracks be attended to by April.

John Ricci, the city’s public facilities director, told the board he could live by that deadline.

The $115 million interdistrict magnet school, which accepts students from Trumbull, was opened in 2013 but there was not movement to officially close out the project until last fall. The school board refused to do so until it could fully inspect the facility, and School Board Member Chris Taylor came back with a laundry list of issues he said needed to be addressed.

Taylor noted numerous problems that to him spelled poor workmanship. Others called the problems cosmetic.

Taylor was not at the meeting on Thursday.

Some of the items to be fixed may be covered by funding not used from the project grant or by warranty. Most of the items will have to be handled by the school board’s facilities department.

Most parts of the building came with only a one-year warranty which is said to be the industry standard. Board member Maria Pereira suggested the city bargain for a longer guarantee when it puts the new Bassick High School out to bid.

Among the issues are air bubbles on the walking pads that sit on the school’s roof, leaks in patio windows and doors, exterior ceiling tile damage, an improperly set guard rail at the main entrance, settlement cracks and modifications to air conditioning units to make sure there is appropriate air flow.

The school board’s facilities committee will be tasked with revisiting the punch list in May.