Friday, August 12, 2022

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Letter: ‘Troubled’ by Portable Classrooms

To the Editor:

As a Westport resident and taxpayer, I am deeply troubled by the usage of portable classrooms for Westport Public Schools without a Certificate of Occupancy and building permits for public utility connections.

Dr. Palmer and the Westport Board of Education propose many portable classrooms at most elementary schools and Bedford Middle School. On December 19, 2018 I spoke with Mr. Dave Kopjanski, a Connecticut State Building Inspector, who suggested contacting the media about this disturbing trend.

Based on my call with Mr. Kopjanski, Westport public schools are not exempt from building permits, and a final Certificate of Occupancy is required before the building may be used in whole or in part [Connecticut State Building Code 111.1.]

Public utility connections are required for all modular buildings including portable classrooms, and the Bedford Middle School plans have four portable classrooms without running water restrooms which clearly lacks the public utility connection mandated by Connecticut State Building Code 111.7. 

I called Mr. Steve Smith, Westport Building Inspector, and he confirmed that Westport Public Schools have not obtained permits or a Certificate of Occupancy for portable classrooms. Westport Planning and Zoning issued a variance for local zoning “coverage” ordinances but may not waive state building code.

Although Westport could apply for a modification to Connecticut state building code, Mr. Kopjanski indicated that no such request has been received at this time.

Westport Public Schools should cease and desist their usage of portable classrooms until they have a final Certificate of Occupancy with public utility connections. Sadly Connecticut prisoners have better living conditions using restrooms with running water.

Westport Public School children and teachers in portable classrooms do not have public utility facilities in their classrooms creating an unlawful health and safety hazard which must immediately stop until Connecticut state building code standards are met in full.

Kara L Hewett,
Westport

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