PLYMOUTH - When school starts again the students at Terryville High School will be sharing their building with the Board of Education offices.
This weekend the board’s central office is moving from the old Main Street School, located across from Town Hall, to newly remodeled offices on the ground floor of the high school.
Superintendent Martin Semmel said the new address will be 27 North Harwinton Ave., separate from the Terryville High School address, which is 33 North Harwinton Ave.
The move was prompted by the poor conditions at Main Street School, including a broken boiler, a leaking roof, and asbestos that needs to be removed. Semmel had said last spring that it made the most sense to move to the high school, which was built for 650 students and currently houses less than 500.
During a recent tour of the newly remodeled space, board chair Melissa Johnson said, “I am blown away by how great it looks. I’m telling everybody they did a fantastic job, it looks like they have always been in this building.” Phillip Penn, district business manager, explained that two art rooms were moved up to extra space on the third floor.
The change made room for the guidance offices to be placed directly across the hall from Principal Michael Hultz and Assistant Principal Darron Vigliotti, and the board’s business staff to be housed nearby.
Where the guidance offices used to be is the new home of the superintendent and the special education staff and alternative education program.
Semmel said his new office will be a slightly smaller but much nicer space. He explained that the alternative program is for “students who are school-phobic or have other reasons why they’re not part of the general population.”
The alternative students will have their own, newly created, secure entrance to the building, which will also be used by adult visitors to keep them from accessing the rest of the school.
Penn said there will be signs directing people to the new door, which is around the corner to the right from the main entrance. There will be video cameras and visitors will have to be buzzed in. The murals that decorate the walls of the old offices will be moved to the new entrance, he said.
The high school already has adequate parking but there may be a few more spaces designated for visitors, Penn said.
It’s a smaller footprint overall, but the office at Main Street School had a lot of dead space, Penn continued. “We won’t have the problems of an 80- or 90-year-old building, and we’ll have heat now in the winter.”
“It’s just more attractive for the public coming in here,” he said. “When we’re trying to recruit new employees we want them to have something welcoming when they come here, and when our parents and our students come in here.”
The move will cost about $130,000, which Penn said will be offset in less than three years by not having to be in the old school. He estimated the move would save the district more than $1 million over the next 20 years, as well as give the town the opportunity to decide what to do with the old school without having to take the central office staff into consideration.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.