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Pass the February 14th Referendum!
Why does the Board of Education recommend that this project
be done now?
Enrollment across the Ellington Public Schools increased twenty
percent over the last decade and is projected to increase by another
twenty percent over the upcoming decade. Quite simply, if we do
not act now, we will not have sufficient space for the elementary
school population. The growth in student enrollment has already led
to significant overcrowding at Windermere School. There are
currently 853 students in the school and enrollment continues to
grow. Intermediate students have limited access to technology as
the computer lab was eliminated to make room for a ninth grade
The safety issues created by the current entrance/exit to Crystal
Lake School continue to be of significant concern. At Crystal Lake
School, the core facilities and systems are aging. The gymnasium
floor is cracking, the kitchen has deteriorating asbestos floor tiles,
and the heating system is antiquated and inefficient. Art instruction
takes place in the cafeteria and cannot be scheduled during lunch
periods. Music instruction takes place on the stage in the gym and
cannot be scheduled while physical education classes are being
Are there any additional benefits to the community as a result of
The project includes the construction of two new game/regulationsized
soccer fields which will be available for use by the Recreation
Department. Improvements to the core facility will provide town
organizations with needed meeting space. In addition, Crystal Lake
School will have improved facilities, such as showers and cot
storage, which will allow it to be used as an emergency shelter.
Will technology be addressed?
Technology is essential to effective instruction in the 21st century.
The project plan includes technology upgrades in classrooms at
Crystal Lake, which can include interactive “Smart” boards,
enhanced audio-visual systems, wireless computer capabilities, local
and school wide communications, and enhanced internal and
external building security. At the current time, Windermere School
has a single computer lab for 850 students, severely limiting handson
access to technology for students. The reduction in enrollment at
Windermere will allow a room that is currently a general education
classroom to be used as a computer lab.
Will the renovated facilities require additional staffing?
Reconfiguring the elementary schools into three K-6 schools will
require two additional teachers, one at grade five and one at grade
six. Other staff members may need to be reassigned to reflect the
change in configuration. Any additional staffing will be the result of
continued growth in enrollment.
How will the project address energy efficiency and concerns
regarding green technology?
New State of CT regulations known as “High Performance,”
comparable to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design); “green” technology is a part of any significant renovation
or new construction. The focus is on long term efficiency of the
building’s envelope (roof, walls, windows, doors), fuel
consumption, improved interior environment for air quality,
acoustical control, use of natural daylight with reduced/improved
quality of artificial light. In addition recycling of materials both
during construction and after occupancy will help to teach proper
stewardship of our built environment and the efficient use of limited
Crystal Lake School
Crystal Lake School will be expanded and fully renovated as part
of the reconfiguration from a K-4 to a K-6 school. The proposed
addition of 18,350 sf will provide for a facility totaling 47,950 sf.
The addition will consist of classrooms and student support areas
with a primary entrance/exit for buses, separate from the entrance
for parent drop off and visitors. The existing portions of the school
will receive alterations to support the K-6 educational program,
including a larger cafeteria, new kitchen, and larger media center.
The renovations will include the replacement of all systems
(mechanical, electrical, etc.), increased thermal performance of the
building envelope, full code and accessibility compliance, and
compliance with the State’s High Performance regulations for
energy efficiency and sustainability. The site, recently expanded to
16 acres with the acquisition of the adjacent parcel to the south will
provide increased parking, improved on site traffic flow with
separation of buses, and cars, sewer connection to Route 140, new
playfields and play equipment.
Windermere will undergo limited programmatic alterations within
the building footprint to support the change from K-4 with district
wide grades 5 & 6 to a K-6 with full district Pre-K. Spaces will be
converted to Pre-K, computer labs, administration, misc. student
support, and toilet rooms. A new Pre-K play area will be created on
the site. No other site work, nor expansion of the building will
Will the project accommodate Ellington students for the
Enrollment and capacity studies indicate that our schools should
support our projected student population through the year 2021.
Members of the Board of Education, as well as members of other
town boards and the community, have been engaged in analyzing
enrollment and facility needs for the school district for a number of
years. The proposed building project is designed to meet the
projected enrollment demands in a cost-effective manner.
What would occur if this project is not completed?
If additional classroom space is not constructed, the district would
be required to phase in the use of portable classrooms as enrollment
dictates. Portable classrooms are not cost effective and experience
has shown significant problems related to their use. The town would
also need to begin the expensive process of addressing age related
issues and programmatic deficiencies within the buildings with the
understanding that these upgrades would likely not meet the long
term needs for the buildings.
What will the impact on the elementary schools be?
Under the proposed configuration, each of the three elementary
schools will serve students in grades K-6 and will operate on a
common schedule. Additionally, the preschool program currently
housed at Center School will be relocated to Windermere.
Why did the Board of Education recommend a two-story
addition to Crystal Lake School?
A two-story addition would preserve some land for a future
expansion if needed, while a single story addition would exhaust the
available footprint and eliminate any flexibility for future expansion
on the property.
Crystal Lake School
· The route 140 entrance/exit has a limited site line and clearly poses a safety hazard. The architectural firm currently working with the district believes that in any renovation of Crystal Lake School the current driveway will no longer be allowed to be used as an exit. Hopefully, it will still be approved as an entrance.
· The New England School Development Council (NESDEC) report of April 2008 states “The bus and car traffic with pedestrians pose a safety concern. The existing driveway and sidewalk have some cracked surfaces. Part of the land adjacent to the access road is owned by the church across the street, with a small historic building near the school, which limits driveway access. The district is encouraged to consider an alternative traffic pattern on the property to improve this situation.”
· The gymnasium floor is cracking
· The kitchen has deteriorating asbestos floor tiles, older equipment, inadequate dry food storage, limited refrigerator and freezer space
· There is a lack of sufficient storage
· There are no lavatories or sinks inside the kindergarten classroom
· There is no running water in the staff room
· There is no dedicated space for Occupational/Physical therapy
· The heating system is antiquated
· Crystal lake School is in need of renovation which would include systems renovations – Fire alarm, Voice, security, lighting, sewer, indoor air quality, technology infrastructure, asbestos removal, ceiling replacement, accessibility, and code
· The original structure of the building, built in 1957 , is not ADA compliant
· There is no dedicated room for Art instruction as Art is held in the cafeteria
· Art instruction cannot be scheduled during lunch periods
· Music instruction is on the stage of the gym therefore physical education and music instruction cannot be scheduled at the same time
· If an additional classroom is needed for instruction the computer lab would need to be dismantled
· District enrollment increased by twenty percent over the past decade
· District enrollment is projected to increase by another twenty percent over the next decade
· Windermere School is already over capacity as it has 874 students in a building planned for 800 students
· The intermediate school computer lab has already been eliminated to create room for a ninth grade five classroom
· An eighteen room addition to the middle school to accommodate grade six is not a feasible alternative
· Movement of the pre-school program from Center School to Windermere School is necessary to allow for a kindergarten through grade six configuration at all three elementary schools