The Berlin High School Renovation Project: How Did We Get To This Point?

Timeline will look at the crucial steps along the way towards construction at a school that is rapidly deteriorating.


The construction of Phase I of the Berlin High School renovation project has started on the east side of the school.

It has been a long journey to get to this point and this Berlin Patch timeline will chronicle the highs and lows of the project.

December 2010: Silver Petrucelli and Associates had previously proposed an $83 million "renovate as new" plan for the high school.  Referred to as "Option 2," the plan would have added 50,000 square feet to the existing building.  It also included improvements at Sage Park and development of the grounds at the high school.  It was voted down by a slim margin in a June referendum.

December 2010: The Town Council voted 5-2 to appropriate $69.9 million for the renovation and expansion of Berlin High School and to authorize the issue of bonds for the project.

February 2011: The Town Council set Tuesday, March 15, as the referendum date for the Berlin High School "Renovate as New" plan. All polling places would be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

March 2011: "I would say this is a mandate," Mayor Adam Salina said after the votes were totaled in the Berlin High School renovate as new project. The "Yes" votes totaled 3,942 while the "No" votes totaled just 2,314 votes. The referendum drew more than 47 percent of registered voters to the polls, an unprecedented number for a referendum vote.

October 2011: Public Building Commission gets its first look at BHS renovation schematics. 

January 2012: The high school project had to be reduced when initial figures came back higher than the allotted amount approved at referendum.

February 2012: The Berlin Board of Education voted 9-0 to approve the current renovation plan for Berlin High School. The approval sends the plan back to the Public Building Commission, which will send the plan to the state if they sign off on it.

July 2012: State officials recently inform the Town of Berlin that state funding for the renovation and expansion of Berlin High School have been approved. The state will contribute $32,974,430 toward the $69.95 million cost of the school work - a 47.14 percent reimbursement rate, and a $37 million savings to Berlin taxpayers.

September 2012: The Public Building Commission moved to send the project back to the Town Council after the construction team came in with an estimate 11 percent over the allotted amount of money approved at referendum. Mayor Salina then said he wanted to fire all of those involved.

September 2012: Parents irate over lack of activity and progress of high school project.

September 2012: The Mayor re-considers and the town hires an outside attorney to help decide what to do going forward with the project.

September 2012: The town sends the high school plan back to the Public Building Commission with instructions. Attorney Corey tells officials they are close and not as far behind as they think.

October 2012: Public Works Director Art Simonian, Town Manager Denise McNair and Mayor Adam Salina all give positive comments at the Town Council meeting about the progress of the Berlin High School renovation project.

November 2012: Town opens more than 80 bids for work to begin at high school.

January 2013: Despite estimates that the project is at least $8 million over original cost, the combined PBC and BOE send EDO42 Form for the plan's state submission on Jan. 8 to meet deadline. The meeting was heated and contentious at times.

January 2013: There are differing views on the Town Council about how the town will reconcile the financial differences between the latest estimates and the funding approved at referendum.

January 2013: The state has a three-day review of the plans and the inspection of the plans is ongoing.

And so here we are. For what will happen next...stay tuned.

Scott February 07, 2013 at 10:26 PM
How did we get to this point? Poor planning, a bungling BOE, and a pandering Council.....
Buddy February 07, 2013 at 11:23 PM
47% Reimbursement Rate??? Good Luck with that. Not even going to be close. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/rpt/2011-R-0073.htm I believe the Architect's filled out this form with the 2010 Proposal More like 31% and change. http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/dgm/sfu/forms/spstdsws.pdf
christine mazzotta February 08, 2013 at 12:44 AM
So at the end of the day, we are 8 mil over budget, have no idea how we're going to pay for it... but we're moving forward anyway? And this is a good thing? Are you kidding me? This is insanity. Please Gary, correct me if I'm being "misinformed!"


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