Bethel school administrators, along with representatives from the Rizzo Corporation, met with school families on Tuesday to present construction plans and a work timeline for the Rockwell and Johnson School renovations, due to begin this fall.
Before delving into the logistics of the 2-year, $65.8 million project, CEO Tony Rizzo addressed the approximately 100 parents in attendance. “We’ll make the construction as simple and as painless as possible,” he said. “Our primary concern is the safety of the children, the safety of the faculty, and the safety of the parents who are coming in and out of the building.” Superintendent Christine Carver followed up with a plea for direct communication from parents. “If there’s anything you’re concerned about, just talk to us. If you have an issue related to any aspect of construction, talk to [building principals].” She continued, “Social media is not always the best way to get the answer. We want to make sure people have the correct information.”
The following list is a summary of the significant changes that the project will necessitate and the primary concerns that were addressed.
Grade shifting: Rockwell’s 3rd grade will shift to Johnson School in Fall 2019. Berry’s 3rd grade will move to Johnson the following year.
Bus schedules: Bus schedules will change district-wide in Fall 2019. Notably, Rockwell, Berry and Johnson will be on the same bus run.
Noise levels: While some noise is inevitable, Rizzo will schedule certain aspects of the construction during second shift, when no students will be in the buildings. Work will also begin at 6:30 each day.
Safety measures: All workers must undergo a background check. Onsite, they must wear a photo ID as well as a clip that indicates where they are in real time within a building. Workers must sign in daily. Rizzo will provide a full-time manager to oversee safety concerns. There will be no interaction between construction personnel and students.
Educational disruptions: While every attempt will be made to minimize disruptions, there will be some changes over the course of the project. Rockwell will utilize two portables for classroom space. in late 2019, the Johnson gym will be inaccessible.
The Connecticut Democratic Convention filled the Hartford Convention Center last weekend, and Bethel’s 10-member delegation threw their weight behind Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont for governor. This will be Lamont’s second bid for governor. In 2010, he lost out to Dannell Malloy for his party’s nomination.
Joseph Ganim, Bridgeport’s mayor, tried but failed to get enough delegates to automatically qualify for the August 14primary. He has pledged to continue to gather signatures to petition his way onto the August ballot.
Lamont chose Susan Bysiewicz for Lieutenant Governor, although her nomination is far from secure. Newtown resident Eva Bermudez Zimmerman mounted an 11th-hour effort that won her 40% of the delegates. Bysiewicz and Zimmerman will face each other during the primary.
The Bethel delegates included Raghib Allie-Brennan, Francesca Braden, Aileen Freebairn, Alice Hutchinson, Matt Knickerbocker, James Naddeo, Jan Patzold, Nancy Ryan, Rob Stowell, and Adrienne Thompson. Speaking for the delegation, Allie-Brennan said they unanimously supported the Lamont-Bysiewicz ticket. “Bysiewicz has legislative experience. Lamont knows how to run a business. It’s a balanced ticket.” Nonetheless, he’s pleased that Democratic voters will have two “excellent options” in August for lieutenant governor. He also praised the overall Democratic platform of “paid medical leave, minimum wage increase, equal pay, and making sure immigrants are welcomed.”
Another notable primary race for the Democrats will be the one to choose Connecticut’s 5th District Congressional candidate. That seat is currently held by Elizabeth Esty, who will step down at the end of her term. Currently, the Dems have a three-way race. Former Simsbury Selectwoman Mary Glassman edged out Former National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes by a mere 6 votes for her party’s endorsement. Meanwhile, New Britain Alderman Manny Sanchez qualifies for the pirmary with 17% of the ballot.
The annual Memorial Day Parade took place last Sunday, amid a surprisingly sunny afternoon. Parade organizers were unsure if the event would be able to take place due to forecasted rain. Thankfully, skies remained clear, and the parade marched up Greenwood Avenue as scheduled. Enjoy these photos!