State funds being sought for Shelton High sprinkler work

The city will seek partial state reimbursement for the sprinkler system project at Shelton High School.

The Board of Aldermen has authorized the Board of Education (BOE) to apply for a grant from the state Department of Education.

According to a recent Board of Aldermen resolution, the BOE “shall file all necessary paperwork to obtain reimbursements from the state.”

The aldermen previously approved spending $995,000 in municipal funds on the sprinkler system, which should resolve many of the outstanding fire code problems at Shelton High.

The recent resolution also authorized “the preparation of schematic drawings and outline specifications” for the project, as a way to begin the process as soon as possible.

Some of the installation work is likely to take place at times when there is little activity in the high school, such as during the summer or school breaks.

While the aldermen had voted to spend almost $1 million on the project in March, the state wanted the local approval to be in the form of a specific resolution and not just an expenditure.

Building Committee's role

The aldermanic resolution also states the Shelton High School Code Compliance Building Committee will become the building committee to oversee the sprinkler project.

A 2012 report by the state fire marshal’s office found 579 violations at SHS, but the city has since rectified most of those violations. Shelton officials have said many of the violations were minor in nature.

Most violations became apparent after a fire at SHS.

The SHS Code Compliance Building Committee was established to oversee improvements that need to be made to make the school fully compliant with fire code regulations.

In 2014, the Board of Aldermen hired an outside consultant to help with SHS fire code compliance issues.

School security

At the same meeting, the Board of Aldermen voted to accept $111,328 in state funding for school security improvements.

The funds are part of a state competitive grant program, and will be matched by $197,317 in city money for a total of $308,645 for school security upgrades through this one specific grant.

Some of the money is targeted for card swipe systems, panic alarm systems and ballistic window film at various schools.

Two big-ticket items involving Shelton High are $100,000 for a natural gas-powered generator and $20,000 for an air conditioning unit, both intended for the computer server room in case of a power outage. The generator also could help control electric door locks at the school if normal power is lost.

Additional funds are being spent on school security work, and the city has received other state partial reimbursement to help with the work.

The city also is pursuing entrance improvements at certain older schools to improve security.


Aldermen Anthony Simonetti and Jack Finn asked questions about the security improvements.

Simonetti said some parents are concerned that all schools may not get the same level of improvements, and it’s important they be reassured this is not the case.

Finn suggested school principals inform PTA officials about the upgrades, so the information will get to parents in the community.