Nonprofit Foundation Planned to Support Saxe Auditorium Renovation, Wider Visual and Performing Arts Community


The group that’s overseeing the renovation of the Saxe Middle School auditorium plans to create a nonprofit foundation that will accept donations to offset the cost of the capital project itself, as well as to serve the longer-term interests of New Canaan’s visual and performing arts community, officials say.

The Saxe Auditorium Building Committee is tapping SLAM Construction Services of Glastonbury (already on the South School windows project) as an owner’s rep, is targeting early-2015 for draft plans of the renovation and is looking at work completed during the summer of 2016, members said Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

“What we need to do first is get a decent scope of the work that we think fits with what is economically viable and fills the needs,” committee member Jim Beall said at the meeting, held in the Training Room of the New Canaan Police Department.

The selectmen voted 3-0 to approve a $67,240 contract that will bring in SLAM as the owner’s rep and for project feasibility and scope development services.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi commended the building committee for its sensible approach to the project.

“I think what is important is that they take the time to get it righ, as I really sincerely feel we are over the hump in terms of the community wanting this—[Saxe Principal] Greg Macedo wants it, the parents want it, you want it—so that is the good news, and I really applaud you for taking the time and getting it right to come to us at the right time,” Mallozzi said.

The town approved $175,000 for project designs in the current fiscal year to renovate the Saxe auditorium—part of the original 1957 building, it received a “poor” rating in an August 2013 facilities survey.

Selectman Beth Jones asked whether the committee envisioned a public-private partnership supporting the project.

New Canaan Public SchoolsInterim Director of Finance and Operations Nancy Harris said plans to form a 501(c)(3) organization have been in the works since the spring, and will include not just parents but others with a stake in visual and performing arts in New Canaan.

“This project has been on the table for quite a long time so I am glad we can move forward with it,” Jones said.

Selectman Nick Williams urged the committee to begin finding prospective donors as soon as the scope of the project was clear and plans could be presented. He also advised the committee when it was doing its fundraising to make it clear to potential donors just what their gifts would go to, if the same nonprofit foundation was to serve both this specific capital project and the longer-term needs of the visual and performing arts in New Canaan.

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