The School Modernization Committee is once again under new leadership.
Committee member Jen Bates was named the new chair of the committee at the most recent meeting of the SMC, held on Wednesday, Sept. 16, Charles Neth will serve as her vice chair.
Bates addressed the Committee after her nomination.
“I would just like to thank Rene (Martinez) for all he’s been doing, and I hope you continue to contribute in any way you see fit …” Bates said.
Martinez had been serving as acting chair for the committee since the resignation of former chair AnneMarie Kemp. Kemp resigned back in July after the Town Council refused to remove fellow member Matt Bowman, who had been caught on an open mic back in June making derogatory comments about female members of the committee.
“… I really appreciate you stepping up in the last few months while we did not have a Chair, so thank you,” Bates said, to Martinez.
After the nomination of Bates and Neth, the meeting shifted to comments from Colliers International for a status update. Colliers International was chosen earlier in the year by the SMC as the design consultant for the project.
“Most of the work that we have been doing recently has been with Milone & MacBroom to go over demographics and we’ve been working with the department of health,” said Chuck Warrington, a representative of Colliers International. “… With all that has gone on with COVID we are moving a little slower than we would normally be in terms of gathering data and numbers.”
Warrington went on to explain that Milone & MacBroom also began a “utilization study” to monitor the use of classrooms and classroom space throughout the high school. According to Warrington, the results of that study will be delayed due to the start of the school year.
While the Committee has faced setbacks in the past, they continue to move forward with attempting to modernize Cheshire’s aging school buildings. The next steps for the Committee include incorporating 2020-21 enrollment projections into the current design plan, and conducting focus group meetings with administrators about capacity and utilization of rooms throughout all school buildings.