Aldermen Approve $12 Million for East Shore (VIDEO)

Supporters say East Shore will still lack facilities and equipment that other Milford middle schools have.

The Board of Aldermen Monday approved a $12 million bond authorization, although not without a partisan confrontation.

Republicans tried unsuccessfully to add $2 million to build four additional new classrooms, arguing that the amount of extra taxes would have been negligible.

Alderman Paula Smith (R-3), who proposed the amendment, estimated it would raise taxes about $100 over 20 years on the average.

But Democrats, who hold a 9-6 majority, rejected the increase. They pointed out that in this economy, many taxpayers can’t afford any increase, and that the $12 million project would adequately meet the school’s needs.

The issue brought a vocal crowd of supporters to the Board of Aldermen meeting to urge approval of the project.

Residents, including a number of teachers and students at the middle school, spoke for more than an hour on the topic. Many asked the aldermen to approve the original $16 million, which had been pared down since last fall.

Even then, Democrats said that $12 million was the largest amount ever approved for renovating a single school in Milford’s history.

The project will give the school a new roof, new windows, expand the media center and cafeteria, and build new art and music rooms and four new classrooms (the proposed amendment would have raised that to eight).

The project would increase the size of the school from 60,000 square feet to 72,000 square feet.

But a number of parents and teachers complained that the renovations would still leave East Shore without electronic "smart boards" and other technology that the city’s other two middle schools -- and -- have.

Students who spoke complained about the overcrowding at East Shore, which was built 40 years ago as an elementary school and was never fully renovated as the other middle schools were.

Mayor Benjamin Blake said if the $2 million amendment had been approved, the aldermen would have had to re-notice the bond authorization ordinance in accordance with a 2008 bond council opinion.

Board of Aldermen Chairman Philip J. Vetro (D-4) said recent bids for a firehouse came in 25 percent below the estimated costs. He and other aldermen said they hoped the city receives favorably low bids allowing Milford to restore some of the items that were cut without having to increase spending.

Michael Brown February 08, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Wow. Paula Smith wanted to add money to the school expansion. This can't be the same Paula Smith who voted to cut 80 teachers and closed Simon Lake School. I wonder what has changed?
JE February 08, 2012 at 05:49 PM
In the end the school will have more than the 4 new classrooms mentioned here because the current media center is actually 2 classrooms that will be put back to that use when the new media center is complete. So that equals 6. The original plan would have added 8 + these 2 = 10. That would have been a mighty hefty amount of new space. Isn't enrollment declining in Milford? And if I heard the architect correctly, there are additional areas that will be converted to classrooms actually providing 8 new classroom even under the revised plan. I don't understand what all the hubub is.
Michael Brown February 08, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I believe the parents of East Shore students wanted the bigger project, and who could blame them. It's possible the bids will come in very low. Both project options should be sent out for bid.
JE February 08, 2012 at 07:35 PM
With all due respect Mr. Brown, the parents at this school are not footing the bill. We are all footing the bill. They shouldn't get what they "want". The project should be based on the needs of the school and if the $12 million project will address the needs that's all that should be put out to bid. If the bids come in low all the better, we can get the work done for even less.
a. claude February 08, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I agree. it is not the time to expand like this. indeed enrollement is declining and may keep on declining. so big project will go on, then why did this year they tared the parking when it was not in need to do so ? just to spend the budget. and now they will have to destroy it to build. what a waste, $100 more for 20 years is a lot of money and a lot of people cannot afford it, especially since the normal increase will go on every year. the economy being what it is, the aldermen cannot afford spending people's money unless it is really necessary, which it is not.
Michael Brown February 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Michael Brown February 08, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Many of the schools in Milford need upgrading or replacement. But when can we do what is needed? When the economy has improved enough? When state of federal government give us a grant. When Bill Gates gives us a donation? The fact is that there will never be a perfect time to do what's needed - but we need to do it all the same. So now is as good a time as any.
M. Antonini February 09, 2012 at 12:35 PM
JE, please go to the school and ask for a tour. You will see that the school could use a whole wing of classrooms and still need more. They just want a school equal to the other two middle schools.
Jan Sexson February 10, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I was appalled to find out that East Shore Middle School is so in need of updating that in the girls lavatory it is necessary to pump a pipe to get water to wash their hands!! Due to budget crunches, necessary renovations have been put off for too long. I agree, Michael, now is the time.
Larissa Watt February 11, 2012 at 05:37 PM
What does pump a pipe mean?
Rusty February 12, 2012 at 06:45 AM
Hmmm,I wonder,LMAO!


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