The following is an update on the Pequenakonck Elementary School playground from Superintendent Ken Freeston:
The North Salem School District’s facilities committee met on Monday, April 16, and decided that the most efficient way to complete the septic project is to go out to bid for the remaining work.
The septic project is divided into four zones or quadrants which encompass both the repair of existing fields and an expansion which will provide additional capacity. The first quadrant (A) has been completed by our staff and approved by the Department of Health (DOH). But, the work has gone slowly due to delays caused by weather and time lost in getting approvals from the DOH. Our goal is to complete the remaining work (quadrants B, C, and D) by September in order take advantage of the warm weather and summer vacation.
As a school district, we must comply with public procurement rules. Therefore, a notice of bid was published on April 17 and bids will be received at the district on May 1. The bids will be evaluated and the project will be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder. It is expected that the Board of Education will approve a qualified bid at the May 16 board meeting. Then, we expect work to begin as soon as the successful bidder can mobilize. Part of the mobilization process will be for the district to develop a joint plan with the contractor that will ensure that work is done in a manner which does not compromise safety or impede daily activities at PQ.
Septic repairs (quadrant B) which are closest to the building will be completed early in the summer and the area will be reseeded. The expansion area (quadrants C and D) will follow the repair work and is expected to be completed in August.
The playground area affected by the septic project is also going out to bid. The entire playground area will be resurfaced. The climbing wall will be removed and a new feature will be added in its place. The playground area will be completed over the summer and be open for use when school begins in September.
The basketball court poses a challenge. The district is currently working with the DOH and our architect to determine an appropriate surface for the basketball court. The existing court is located over septic fields and must be removed in order for septic repairs to occur. Environmental requirements have changed since the basketball court was built and pavement is no longer allowed to be installed above septic fields. If a suitable material cannot be found, we may need to move the court to a different location. It is unlikely that a new court will be in place for the start of school in September.
The master plan includes adequate funds for septic repair and expansion. To date we have expended less than 46 percent of the total for all master plan projects and 15 percent of the funds allocated for the septic work. Be assured that funds are available to complete this work.