The Amity Regional School District's Facilities Study Committee has been meeting weekly to address school renovations. It has hired the architectural firm of Best Joslin/DRA to complete a full facility review and make recommendations for remediation.

The school district has until June 30 to qualify for the high reimbursement rate of 35 percent that the state of Connecticut originally granted in 2000 for the school renovation work. The district asked for the extension after the community rejected a referendum to address the needs two years ago.

Barbara Joslin, a partner with Best Joslin/DRA attended last weeks meeting and discussed the Community Forum recently held.

"I walked away feeling positive although some people had many air quality issues throughout each group," she said.

Joslin went on to say that her partner Jim Best has been addressing the air quality concerns.

"Jim has been working with Dr. Helene (Skrzyniarz) to get an outside expert to work in conjunction," she said.

Joslin said the next workshop, scheduled for Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, will include an engineer to answer questions as well.

"He has experience with air quality issue," she said referring to the engineer.

Joslin said she believed that the high school staff that were in attendance are unanimous in thinking the 9th grade should be moved to the high school. She said the students in attendance also felt the 9th grade belongs on the same campus.

Joslin said many were still skeptical of the Amity Board of Education.

"There are still some credibility issues with people being concerned the board is hiding things and not taking action," Joslin said.

Board Chairman Ken Downey asked about demographics.

Joslin said they had reviewed all demographics as well as the new study recently completed in Woodbridge and there is minimal growth expected over the next 10 years.

"This project is driven by need not growth," she said.

Ralph Aschettino, an Orange representative on the committee, asked that the cost for an additional high school in Orange be included in the final presentation. Skrzynirz suggested adding the operating costs for the additional school as well.

When Best Joslin presents its final report to the board March 2 it will include a variety of options with anticipated costs. Among those options being considered include fix as you go, minimal code compliance, renovate as new and new buildings on site, off site and a new combined middle school.

Facilities Chairman Joe Dey said the District was working to have its Information Technology crew place all the documents generated by the committee on the Amity website. He said he expected to have the information up to date by the next information session. The website is www.amityregion5.org.

The Facilities Study Group meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Presentation Room of the district offices