RTM approves funding increase for new Ox Ridge School

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

The resolution to increase the scope of the planning, design and construction of the new Ox Ridge Elementary School by $3 million was passed by the Representative Town Meeting at its June 10 meeting with a vote of 89 in favor and one against. There were two abstentions.
The decision increases the scope of the project, appropriation, and bond authorization from $60 million to $63 million.
According to Jack Davis, chairman of the RTM Finance and Budget Committee, Darien has had to modify its building committee financial process to comply with state requirements.
“By authorizing this amount, the town will meet the June 30th deadline to have the Ox Ridge Elementary School project reviewed by the state,” he said, adding, “No school can build without such a review, regardless if a town is or is not looking for a grant.”
If the June 30 date was missed, it would delay the construction of the school by one full year, Davis said.
At the RTM meeting, Selectman Kip Koons and Board of Ed Vice Chairman David Dineen, co-chairmen of the Ox Ridge Elementary School Building Committee, gave a detailed presentation on the conceptual plans for the new school.
As part of their presentation, they discussed the background of the project, the work that has been done so far on the building committee, why the appropriation is being asked for now, and the basis for the appropriation amount.
“Rough estimates of the construction and soft costs were lifted from presentations by the three architectural firms that were finalists,” Dineen said. “These numbers were based upon very early concepts of school design.”
He added that,“Numbers ranged from 55 to 60 million before town costs of financing and specialized consulting. The appropriation request of 63 million includes these extra costs.”
The committee is tentatively scheduled to submit the application with the Board of Education on June 26.