‘Tight Timelines’ Set to Kick-Start $2 Million Saxe Auditorium Renovation

With an eye on securing construction funds for fiscal year 2016, the group that’s overseeing the renovation of the Saxe Middle School auditorium is working against “tight timelines” that will see draft plans completed by the end of January, officials say. Members of the Saxe Auditorium Building Committee are meeting weekly now as well as conducting site visits in New Canaan, Darien and Westport so that by the next budget cycle they can come before the town with more details and tap the $2 million earmarked for the work starting next summer, New Canaan Public Schools Interim Director of Finance and Operations Nancy Harris said at the Sept. 8 Board of Education meeting. “We have to have a comprehensive preliminary budget, which means there has to be a draft of a design, so that kicks us into high gear,” Harris said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “At our opening meeting, we really set some very tight timelines,” she said.

Group Forms to Oversee Saxe Auditorium Renovation

New Canaan this week took a big step toward the widely anticipated renovation of Saxe Middle School’s aging auditorium, with the creation of a volunteer panel to oversee the project. The Saxe Auditorium Building Committee includes elected and district officials as well as private citizens. The town approved $175,000 for project designs in the current fiscal year, with $2 million earmarked for the actual work in fiscal year 2016, budget documents show. Part of the original 1957 building, the Saxe auditorium received a “poor” rating in an August 2013 facilities survey. Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi described the auditorium as both an instructional and performance space “and it hasn’t been updated, maintained or renovated in an awfully long time.”

“We’ve got a situation where the seats are broken and the space itself is no longer serving the needs of the school or the community,” Luizzi told NewCanaanite.com.