Milford school renovation gets go-ahead from school board

MILFORD — The city’s oldest school could soon feature some of the most modern facilities, after the Milford Board of Education unanimously approved an expansion for Pumpkin Delight Elementary School.

Built in 1949, Pumpkin Delight has not had any major renovation since 1955. The Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a $12.9 million appropriation for the project at its May 3 meeting.

“The aldermen actually expanded the budget by 5 percent to help make sure we got the necessary ventilation in the building,” said Eddie Widofsky of Tecton Architects.

The project is currently in the design phase, with the construction phase scheduled to begin in 2022, and completion scheduled for 2023.

“The majority of the building dates back to 1949, and it’s a two-story structure,” Widofsky said, “It was added onto in 1955, with a single-story building, and basically the building has remained as-is since that time.”

Widofsky said the idea was to build an addition to the north side of the building that would create a “loop of circulation” between the two sections. This will eliminate some of the building’s dead-end corridors and create an internal courtyard for students to learn and play safely, he said.

“We think this is going to be an exciting opportunity for learning space, and play space, and it’s really going to blend the transition between natural and built environment,” he said.

The new addition will house a new multipurpose room that can function as a gym and cafeteria, and also include kitchen and storage space and a new science classroom.

The current multipurpose room, which school officials said is inadequate by today’s education standards, will be converted into a new media center. Other major plans for the first floor are adding a secure vestibule with a greeter station, renovating toilet rooms (both floors), and converting the existing media center into bathrooms and breakout space.

To offset the loss of parking from the expansion, Widofsky said the plans call for a new 23-space parking lot adjacent to the school’s softball field. The new parking area also will allow improvements to the drop-off area, with queuing space for four buses, a dedicated drive lane and queuing space for parents.

The new section will also be air conditioned, and Widofsky said there was “a high probability” that the budget also would cover the two-story 1949 section. Air conditioning the 1955 one-story structure was also a possibility depending on the bids, he said.

“If worst comes to worst, that (air conditioning) can be added in the future, easily,” he said.

Board Member Adam De Young said the project was a benefit to families in the Pumpkin Delight district.

“I’m excited for this renovation and I know our families will be thrilled,” he said.

School officials said the renovation would keep Pumpkin Delight a modern learning environment for at least the next 20 years.