West Shore Middle School expansion plans moving forward

Plans to expand West Shore Middle School are moving ahead following unanimous Planning and Zoning Board approval at its Dec. 6 meeting.

The board granted coastal management site plan approval for the project at 70 Kay Avenue. The city’s engineering department requested the addition of a drainage swale to handle stormwater runoff from the parking lot. The motion included the stipulation that the project engineer work with the city’s engineering department on this issue.

Project architect William Silver told the P&Z that the addition would be on the Kay Avenue side of the property. The addition would include classrooms, a larger area for music, and a new administrative and office area with improved security. The plans include adding 15 parking spaces near Nells Road and nine parking spaces near Kay Avenue.

Silver said the project “has no adverse impact on coastal wetlands.” The 10.4-acre property is in the Housatonic River watershed. The project includes improvements for stormwater management.

The Inland-Wetlands Agency (IWA) voted on July 20 to reject a request from the Permanent School Facilities Building Committee to construct a 41-space parking lot adjacent to the school outdoor classroom because it would have had the greatest impact on wetlands.

The agency vote did allow a proposed 25-space parking lot on what is now a grassy field and a small wooded area behind houses on Nells Road.

Prior to the P&Z meeting, Silver indicated the building committee reduced that lot size to 15 spaces, based on feedback from Nells Road neighbors.

Following the Inland Wetlands Agency July vote, James L. Richetelli Jr., chief operations officer for Milford Public Schools, explained that the $16.5 million school expansion includes a dedicated art and music wing, an expanded gymnasium, a dedicated stage, new windows and roof, asbestos removal, and security upgrades.

Richetelli said construction is planned to start in 2017 and would last about 18 months. He said the state reimbursement rate for this cost is expected to rise from the current 37.14% to 50%.