Eight portable classrooms for all-day kindergarten classes at on Gerrish Avenue will not be ready until the end of 2011, according to the project architect.
Architect Paul Jorgensen of Silver Petrucelli & Associates said the new classrooms are waiting for a variety of waivers and review approvals by state agencies that prevented the town from keeping to its previous timetables.
The School Building Committee and the Board of Education originally hoped to have the new classrooms ready for the start of the school year, then rescheduled that for mid-October.
Jorgensen said the new timetable would have the portable classrooms ready by the end of December.
"That’s the latest deadline that we’re shooting for, and we’ll be tight to that," he said.
Jorgensen said he wouldn’t refer to the new timetable as a "delay," because the state officials had never promised to decide on the waivers and reviews earlier than they are.
The most uncertain factor is the flood plain review currently being conducted by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which is required because Overbrook School, where the portable classrooms will be located, is in the Tuttle Brook flood plain.
Jorgensen said the DEEP has not said when that review would be completed or what the outcome might be.
"It’s not a delay because they’ve never committed from day one to a time," he said.
The architect said Silver Petrucelli has also applied to the state for waivers of the Building Code sprinkler system requirement.
The Building Code requires sprinklers to be installed in all new school facilities, but that would be a financial hardship for portable classrooms, which are not intended to be permanent facilities. "It would be a large bill," he said.
Jorgensen said every time the architectural firm has asked for a waiver of the sprinkler requirement for portable classrooms, state officials have approved it. "It’s something that we count on," he said.
Another issue involves the pitch of the portable classroom roofs. The units have a 1/8-inch pitch and the state requires a steeper 1/2-inch pitch.
"We built into the project that it could be done either way," Jorgensen said, although it would cost more to add new roofs. He also noted that the town of Newtown used these same units for portable classrooms for several years with the present roofs.
The deciding factor is whether the state Department of Education approves the steeper roofs as a reimbursable part of the job.
"If they won’t reimburse for it, then it’s not a requirement," he said.
School Building Committee Chairman Joseph D’Albero said the town has also applied for a state Department of Education waiver of the noise requirement for the portable classrooms’ heating and air conditioning equipment.
Jorgensen said the portables are still in Newtown waiting to be brought to East Haven. Once all the waivers are decided and the flood plain review is complete, Jorgensen said the town can hire a contractor to move the units to East Haven and set them up.
In May, decided to acquire the eight used classroom structures from Newtown rather than buy four new ones.
in June over the objection of Republicans.
The decision pushed the cost of the project up from $430,000 to $899,00, but town officials believe the state will reimburse the bulk of the cost leaving the town’s share at about $270,000.