Office relocation leaves school district with less space

Moving the school district’s central offices out of the town hall annex is back on the town’s agenda in 2018.

The Board of Selectmen is considering a new plan that would pack up the Ridgefield Public Schools central office, located off the same parking lot as Yanity gym, and relocate it to the Richard E. Venus Building — across the street from the police station.

Baldwin told the Board of Education of the town’s plan Jan. 8, and said the school offices would take up the building’s first floor and its basement.

Baldwin said the plans drawn up by Mose Associates Architects would leave the office with about 390 square feet less than it currently uses — a concern she has already made note of to the selectmen.  

“They also communicated to us that they would do an environmental study of that space, because there were some health concerns about the basement,” Baldwin said.

The town does not know when the move would take place.

Baldwin estimated that, at the very earliest, the move would take place sometime in the 2019-20 school year.

“What would the cost be for the buildout and the move, and who would pay that expense?” asked board member James Keidel. “Because we’re always worried about money.”

Upwards of $1.5 million was the estimate Baldwin said she’d heard, though that figure will be final only after the plans for the move are finished.

“And who would pick that up?” Keidel pressed. “The million-plus — because it’s always more than you think it’s gonna be.”

Baldwin said it still is not clear who will pick up the tab.

“It’s really not us who’s driving this,” said board Chairwoman Fran Walton. “It’s really being driven by the Board of Selectmen. … They have to decide how they want to do this.”

Walton asked the board’s negotiations committee to take on discussing the matter with the Board of Selectmen.