Code Violation Prompts First-Grade Classroom Shift in Delayed South School Windows Project


The delayed $2.6 million windows replacement project at South School has seen a first-grade class displaced from its planned room because of an architectural design flaw, officials said Tuesday.

The project— removing part of the original 1955 glass block, long porous and out-of-code, with caulk that has PCBs—originally was to have been completed prior to the first day of school.

But physically obtaining the glass and frames needed, an industry-wide problem, pushed back the work this past summer, and New Canaan’s fire marshal in September flagged a code violation where a first-grade classroom “had an egress window as required by code that was missed by the design documents,” according to Gene Torone, president of SLAM Construction Services and owner’s representative on the project.

The plan now is to remove a windowpane and replace it with a frame and new egress window, though those in charge of the work are “dealing with a window company that is very uncooperative,” Torone told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday during an update on the project.

“We are negotiating the change order now and there could be some remedy on the side of the architect to help support some of that cost,” Torone said during the selectmen’s regular meeting, held in a board room at Town Hall.

Parents have been notified of the problem, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said. South School is not at capacity—it has room for 29 sections and 27 are in place now, he said—“so we were able to move that classroom into another room and lose meeting room space that we were using that room for.”

It’s OK under fire code to have adults in the room with the missing egress window, so it’s being used by teachers now and that arrangement will hold through the end of the school year, Luizzi said.

Overall, the project is still expected to qualify for state reimbursements, and there’s about $162,500 left in the building account now (the original $2.6 million included 10 percent contingency) though change orders being drawn up now will “get into that number significantly” and Torone is working to “resolve some disputed issues,” said Dr. Jo-Ann Keating, the district’s director of finance and operations.

Though delayed, the windows project should be completed by the end of next month, Torone said. All first-floor window work is done, and some 20-plus entry doors will be replaced and upgraded to include new security hardware and software, and the “clearstory” work, “café-torium,” gym and front central corridor still need to be completed, he said.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said the reason for bringing up the project and delays now is that “we have a have major construction project coming up at Saxe.”

“And the good news there is we have a whole new wing, so should we get a delay—and delays happen in construction—but should we get a delay, we are not talking about moving classrooms,” Mallozzi said. “Because what we are doing is adding on a whole new wing, so in theory we will not have to worry about swing space.”

One thought on “Code Violation Prompts First-Grade Classroom Shift in Delayed South School Windows Project

  1. Between the missing urinal in town hall and now this the town has not had much luck finding architects with attention to detail skills. Hopefully they have better luck with the Saxe expansion project architect. Does not sound like this one will come in under budget.

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