The cost of keeping a roof over the heads of students, teachers and staff in the oldest part of the Middlesex Middle School is a lot less expensive than school officials originally expected.
The initial estimate of the cost was $750,000 for a slate roof to replace the one the school was built with 80 years ago, in the 1930s. The bid came back at $492,000, said Darien Public Schools Finance Director Richard Huot.
The project was then delayed a year when school officials couldn't get state approval in time for a grant that would cover 20 percent of the cost of the project, so instead of getting the roof replaced last summer, the project is now due to start during the summer break, according to Huot.
"We hope as soon as school gets out to start that," Huot told the Board of Education last Tuesday.
Architects fees not included in the $492,000 construction bid are also eligible for 20 percent state reimbursement, Huot said. The delay is not expected to increase the price of the project, he said.
Last year, the Board of Education requested funds for the replacement of the roof, and the Board of Finance approved it with reserve funds available for spending in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. That meant the money was essentially already paid for by taxpayers, so it would have no effect on future tax rates.
School officials wanted the replacement to be of slate as well, rather than less expensive alternatives, because the roof could be expected to last much longer than any alternatives. They'll be using Vermont slate with an estimated lifespan of 75 years.