Aldermen approve almost $1 million for Shelton High sprinklers

The Board of Aldermen has approved $995,000 to install a sprinkler system at Shelton High School. The sprinkler system will go a long way toward resolving many outstanding fire code violations at SHS.

Mayor Mark Lauretti and aldermanic President John Anglace said the cost of the sprinklers is much less than originally thought.

Lauretti said some of the infrastructure needed for the sprinkler system was put in place when major renovation work was done at SHS a number of years ago, but that wasn’t fully understood until recently.

Anglace called the new sprinkler system cost “realistic” and “within reason,” compared to earlier expectations that the cost would be “a huge number.”

The city Board of Education (BOE) will apply for partial reimbursement for the project from the state, but the city funding should allow the project to move forward.

Architect working on the plans

An architect is working on schematic plans for the sprinkler system, according to Anglace. He said it’s important to “clarify” that it will be the BOE’s responsibility to seek the state funding.

Lauretti told aldermen the state “would like to see that the municipality has made a financial commitment to the project.”

It’s uncertain if the entire sprinkler system will be installed in one phase, Lauretti said, “but it will get done.” He said aspects of the project could interfere with certain school operations and therefore need to take place at times when there’s less activity at SHS.

What is the full cost?

Alderman Jack Finn questioned if $995,000 would be the full cost for the sprinkler system work. Lauretti responded that was “an estimate of the total cost of the project.”

School Supt. Freeman Burr said he looks forward to having the sprinkler project completed because it would take care of the vast majority of SHS fire code violations that still are outstanding. “This should pretty much take care of things,” Burr said.

State fire marshal's report

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 about seven years ago.

The city has formed an SHS Code Compliance Building Committee 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.