By Josh LaBella
The Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a bid on furnishing and technology for the remodeling of West Haven High School. The bids are valued at approximately $3 million and $2.2 million, respectively.
Ken Carney, who is in charge of overseeing the renovations for the city, introduced a team representing Antinozzi Associates, the company carrying out the renovations. Carney said they were there to discuss the bid covering furniture and equipment for the high school. He said the board’s approval of this phase was just one step in completing the project.
“The way the state works is the building committee has to approve the package, the Board of Education has to approve the package,” said Carney, “and then the state will review the package and allow us to go out to bid to keep our schedule. That’s why we’re here tonight.”
Mike Lasasso, the architect from Antinozzi Associates who designed the remodel, said the meeting was a particularly happy moment for them. He said it was the fourth of the four project stages in the remodel.
“This is a huge milestone for us,” said Lasasso. “This is really the last part of the project.”
Lasasso said the company tried to structure the bid in a way that was most advantageous for the city from a financial standpoint. He discussed a plan to add an extension to the C-wing of the high school and the price differences between the bid with and without that represented.
“As you can see from the furniture numbers,” said Lasasso, “the difference as to whether we do the C- wing extension or not is relatively negligible given the overall project cost.”
The difference in the original bid and the bid which included the C- wing extension was $60,984. James Morrissey, a member of the board, said he shared the concerns of some parents and wanted to ensure the safety of the staff and students when it came to the process of asbestos removal.
Carney said due to the concerns of the parents, the project added additional testing “to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.” He said it was beyond what they would have usually done.
“In every single case without exception,” said Carney, “we have not seen asbestos released into the school. We can’t find it.”
Once the bids were approved, Carney said it was another example of the board of education showing support for the project.
“Part of the reason this project is so successful is because the board of education is so supportive of it,” said Carney. “They’ve been nothing but professional. They asked the right questions. They support it. It makes our jobs a lot easier.”
Rosemary Russo, the chairwoman of the board, said the vote went as she expected it to. She said she was originally a bit surprised that the representatives were not sure if the C-wing extension would be built or not.
“I feel reassured that it’s going to work out fine,” said Russo. “I really appreciated Ken (Carney) again and Jim Morrissey’s question about the asbestos because I think that’s really a hot issue right now and I think people need to be reassured. So I was happy that that came up.”