The Newtown Board of Selectmen has decided to begin an assessment of the town’s municipal space needs, in order to lay out a road map for the next decade.
First Selectman Patricial Llodra said the last municipal space needs assessment was done in 1999, so it’s about time to do a new one.
She said the assessment would also plan for three significant projects coming up in the future: the construction of a community center, a police station and a senior center.
Another consideration is whether the Board of Education might close another school because of declining pupil enrollment.
James Gaston and William Rodgers, the two other selectmen in attendance at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Monday evening, joined Llodra to unanimously authorize her to ask the school board to meet with the selectmen for a discussion about future school closings.
Llodra said the Board of Education has identified as the one it would most likely close because of declining enrollment.
However, the rising expense for renovations needed for , including about $6 million to bring the building, built in 1921, into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and another $6 million for a new HVAC system and boilers, raise the possibility that that school might also be targeted to close.
Rodgers said the Board of Education had listed Reed as its first choice to close because it would be the easiest to reopen if pupil enrollment were to increase. That might not be so easy if the closed school were filled with town programs.
The needs assessment also has implications for the town’s CIP (Capital Improvement Program), which is currently under review because its projected cost would exceed its budget limit.
The town’s budget planning set the CIP cost at no higher than 9 percent. Finance Director Robert Tait told the Board of Finance recently that capital improvement projects already approved would push the cost over 10 percent of the budget, and that would get even worse if the town went ahead with the Hawley School project.
So , except for repairs to a number of bridges and construction of a new firehouse, until municipal needs are reviewed.
Llodra said the projects that would be immediately affected are for , which have been put on hold.
"Those are projects that have been vetted. We just don’t have the resources," Llodra said.