Saxe Middle School

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FIRST LOOK: Saxe Middle School Addition, Renovated Auditorium [PHOTOS]

District officials on Tuesday gave local media outlets a tour of the widely anticipated addition and nearly finished renovation of the auditorium at Saxe Middle School—an estimated $18.6 million project (including the “right-sizing” of overcrowded music rooms, now underway) that’s expected to come in at about $18.2 million. Built onto the school’s northwestern corner in the middle school’s traditional red brick, the new classrooms, common areas, staircases and hallways are naturally and brightly lit on all four sides—thanks in part to large windows, glass dividing walls between some classrooms, clerestories and a new courtyard created where the existing building meets the addition (see photo gallery above). The tour was led by Penny Rashin, a Board of Education member who chaired the Saxe Building Committee, and she was accompanied by fellow committee member Molly Ludtke, Principal Greg Macedo, Assistant Principal Dr. Steven Clapp and New Canaan Public Schools Director of Communications Michael Horyczun. “We are so appreciative of the support that the town bodies—the Board of Selectmen, Town Council and Board of Finance—and the community have given this project, because we really think it sets Saxe up for success for the next 10 to 20 years,” Rashin said. “You can see the exciting opportunities for education that are going to occur here, so we appreciate all the community support.”

Other members of the Saxe Building Committee include Vice Chairman Jim Beall, Secretary Ken Campbell, Dr. Jo-Ann Keating, Amy Murphy Carroll, Alan Sneath and Bill Walbert. Continue Reading →

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‘A Very Good Team Effort’: District Officials Work Through Detailed Move-In Plan for Renovated, Expanded Saxe Middle School

District officials say teachers in Saxe Middle School’s art and music rooms have started packing up in boxes as they prepare on the final day of school (June 21) to vacate for a time so that extensive capital work can be completed this summer. Daniel Clarke, manager of facilities operations, told members of the Board of Education that his office is coordinating with construction company O&G Industries as well as the fire marshal to work within and even enhance a “very detailed, well-organized and thought-out plan” from Saxe Principal Greg Macedo. “It really has been a team effort to try and make this as efficient as possible,” Clarke told the Board of Ed during its meeting Monday, his first since taking over in the role from Bob Willoughby. “Because here we are in May and we say: ‘We are moving next month.’ When you say it that way, the urgency is there.”

The $18.6 million project is on time and budget, officials have said. To be completed for the start of next academic year, it includes the renovation of the 60-year-old auditorium at Saxe, as well as a “right-sizing” of music rooms that a building committee immediately identified as a need, and a 12-room addition that emerged a few months later to address rapidly rising enrollment at the overcrowded middle school. Continue Reading →

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‘It’s Nice To See Kids Maintaining Their Childhood’: Saxe Middle School Principal Defends $200,000 Request for New Playground Equipment

When playground equipment was purchased a dozen years ago for Saxe Middle School with about $125,000 in privately raised funds, many in town debated whether the gear would be used by the students there at all, Principal Greg Macedo said Wednesday night. Yet today, it sees regular use not only among fifth- and sixth-graders, according to Macedo, but also from seventh- and eighth-graders. That’s partly for reasons of status—the older kids like to run out and get on the playground equipment first—and partly because students rotate from there during outdoor recess to a playing field and on to a game of tag, Macedo told members of the Town Council at their regular meeting. “Remember now we are talking about middle-schoolers, so ‘free play’ in their mind is socialization—before maybe physical education, or even recreation,” Macedo said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “So oftentimes you will see students climb the equipment and then want to stay there to socialize.”

The comments came during an opening round of budget discussions between the Board of Education and Town Council, the elected body that has final say over next fiscal year’s municipal spending plan. Continue Reading →

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Town Approves $682,000 in Contracts To Purchase Furniture, Equipment for Addition at Saxe Middle School; Project on Time and Budget

Town officials last week approved contracts totaling $682,000 for furniture and equipment for the Saxe Middle School addition that’s taking shape along Farm Road. The contracts and funds, built into the overall $18.6 million project, came before the Board of Selectmen in its capacity as the purchasing agent for the town. Part of “phase three” of the Saxe renovation and expansion, the items received state approval and have been vetted by New Canaan Public Schools administrators to ensure all technology equipment meets district system requirements, according to Penny Rashin, chairman of the Saxe Building Committee. “Really this is the technical equipment and the furnishings for the classrooms being built and renovated,” Rashin told the selectmen at their regular meeting, held March 7 at Town Hall. The $682,000 total includes $440,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment, up to $212,000 for technology equipment and a contingency of $30,000. Continue Reading →

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‘She Has Given Me Life Twice’: New Canaan Schoolteacher’s Mom Donates Kidney To Her Son

Though Michael Patrona first was diagnosed with kidney disease 15 years ago, he’s always hoped that it would require only medication to treat into his old age. Yet in the last two years, Patrona—a popular fifth-grade teacher at Saxe Middle School and 1994 New Canaan High School graduate—has felt increasingly run down after work. One month ago, a routine blood test revealed that Patrona’s levels of creatinine—a chemical molecule transported to the kidneys—had skyrocketed dangerously. He needed a transplant, and faced the prospect of undergoing dialysis until a live kidney could be found. But as soon as she learned that her son needed a kidney, Patrona’s mom, Eileen Hynes, got tested, discovered she was a match and signed up to donate her organ. Continue Reading →

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