Monday, June 17, 2024

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BOE: Whoa to $21.2 Million Staples Expansion

By James Lomuscio

Click here for PDF of study

Westport’s Board of Education tonight found an architect’s feasibility study to expand Staples High School by 36,320-square feet to the tune of $21.2 million to be more than they had expected.

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An artist’s rendition of a recommended Staples High School expansion module. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Fuller D’Angelo P.C. graphic

Members seemed surprised by the proposal. They said they thought the $20,000 study they had commissioned would address different ways to accommodate Staples’ swelling student population that is 100 students over capacity this fall—not full blown plans for a new building with a hefty price tag.

“The enrollment is the driver, and I’m just afraid that it’s two steps further than where we are now,” said board member Karen Klein.

“We need to fully vet all the other choices,” she added, saying that things, such as modular classrooms, larger class size and course tradeoffs, should be part of the study, even though she is not in favor of them. “We need to do our due diligence before we get to that point.”

Denis McCarthy Named Fairfield FD Chief

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UPDATE Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy (l), who retired as Westport fire chief in 2005 after a 26-year career here before taking the Norwalk position, was appointed Fairfield fire chief tonight. McCarthy, seen at a joint Westport-Norwalk training exercise July 24 with Westport Deputy Chief Bob Kepchar, was given a five-year contract beginning Oct. 1. He succeeds retiring chief Dick Felner. McCarthy is a 38-year resident of Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Balloons Blamed for Parker-Harding Crash

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A pickup driver who said his vision was restricted by birthday balloons in his vehicle clipped two cars late today in Westport’s Parker-Harding Plaza, sending one of the cars into the front window of the Washing Well. A female driver in one of the cars was transported to Norwalk Hospital by Westport EMS for minor injuries. The pickup driver told police he was taking balloons from his father’s house where there was a birthday celebration to his home for his children. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Vision Restricted by Birthday Balloons

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A pickup driver who said his vision was restricted by birthday balloons in his vehicle clipped two vehicles late today in Westport’s Parker-Harding Plaza. One vehicle went into the window of the Washing Well, breaking the window. A woman in a second vehicle complained of neck pain and was taken to Norwalk Hospital. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 39 Compo Parkway

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An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 39 Compo Parkway, off Compo Road South, is in process. Built in 1920, the two-story colonial has 2,308-square feet, is situated on a .65-acre property and last changed ownership in August 1990 for $615,000, according to the Town Assessor database. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Online Survey Aids in Schools Super Search

A community survey to help discern what Westporters want in a new school superintendent is now available at www.ecrasurvey.com/westport or can be linked to from the Westport Public Schools’ home page, Board of Education Chairman Michael Gordon said today. The survey will remain open until Sept. 18.

Gordon also said that the first community forum on the search to replace Superintendent Elliott Landon, who is retiring after 17 years at the end of the 2015-16 academic year, is scheduled for Tuesda, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium. 

A second second forum is set for Thursday, Sept. 10 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Town Hall auditorium.

Finding a replacement for Landon will also be the first item at tonight’s Board of Education meeting, as the search firm Hazard, Young & Attea offers a presentation of the superintendent search process.

In Its New Home

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Work was completed today on the installation of a donated sculpture to Westport’s Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center. The 1991 work, “The Couple (Adam & Eve),” by William King (1925-2015), was a gift by the late artist Susan Rabinowitz Malloy, who died April 14 at age 91. The man is 12-feet tall, the woman, 10-feet. Looking over the work are (l-r) Tony McDowell, Earthplace executive director, Ann Sheffer, Malloy’s niece, Mark Hawes and Susan Holcombe of Bethany-based Hawes & Holcombe Conservation, and Kathie Bennewitz, curator, Town of Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

New Artwork Installed at Earthplace

WestportNow.com ImageMark Hawes, of Bethany-based Hawes & Holcombe Conservation, today puts the final touches on installation of the 1991 artwork “The Couple (Adam & Eve)” by William King at Westport’s Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center. The work was a gift from the estate of Westport artist Susan Rabinowitz Malloy, who died April 14 at age 91. (See WestportNow April 14, 2015) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kathie Bennewitz for WestportNow.com

Joy of Summer—Being a Scooter Commuter

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It was standing room only today at the designated motorcycle and scooter parking “lot” at Westport’s Saugatuck train station. Sixteen of these two-wheeled vehicles (and one three-wheeler) fit neatly in an area that would barely accommodate three or so cars—one of the joys and benefits of scooter commuting. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Joshua Prince for WestportNow.com