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Selectmen Endorse $500K Gift of Pavilion for DHS

An architect's rendering of the front of the Darien High School concession stand. The bricks won't be this color -- instead they'll be the color of the high school's brick walls. (Courtesy of the Darien Athletic Foundation)
An architect's rendering of the front of the Darien High School concession stand. The bricks won't be this color -- instead they'll be the color of the high school's brick walls. (Courtesy of the Darien Athletic Foundation)
The Darien Board of Selectmen on Monday unanimously approved receiving a $500,000 gift of a 1,023-square-foot, brick pavillion, including a concession stand, at the high school stadium field.

The small building will be donated by the Darien Athletic Foundation if, as expected, the Representative Town Meeting gives final approval for the town to accept the gift.

The pavillion would also have a ticket booth, bathrooms and even a roofed-over area where kids could stand out of the rain as they wait for their parents to pick them up.

The Board of Education endorsed the gift last week, and the Planning & Zoning Commission has approved the plans. Foundation officials told the selectmen on Monday that they hope to get the structure built before the start of the football season in the fall of 2014.

The pavillion stand will have a 356-square-foot concession stand, 174-square feet for male and female bathrooms, a 44-square-foot ticket booth and a 75-square-foot utility room, said Debbie Parnon, vice president of the Darien Athletic Foundation. Utility lines are near the building, which will have both plumbing and electricity, she said.

The same architect who designed the main Weed Beach building and the building in which Brooks Brothers is located was hired by the Darien Athletic Foundation to design the concession stand, Parnon said.

Lou Gesualdi, a 1983 graduate of Darien High School who's children have also graduated from the school, is a builder in town who has agreed to construct the building at cost, she said.

No cooking there, yet

No stoves, ovens grills or fryers will be located in the building for now, said Jennifer Montanaro, a member of the foundation board who spoke at the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Monday.

Both First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and E. Reilly Tierney each said they were disappointed that a kitchen capable of cooking and preparing food was not in the proposal.

Montanaro replied that if a kitchen with that kind of equipment were included in the plans, the approval process would have taken so long that the project would have to wait for another year. Instead, kitchen equipment could be added to the concession area later without major changes to the building, she said.

The concession area will have a refrigerator and an ice machine, Parnon said. The school district will have full control over which organization sells what items from the concession stand, she said.

Cost to the town

Michael Sullivan, facilities and operations director for Darien Public Schools, has estimated that the cost of maintaining and cleaning the pavilion will be $7,000 to $8,000 per year, an expense that the school district will take on. The estimate includes the cost of electricity, cleaning supplies and paying custodians.

Any major repairs or changes to the structure, should anything prove defective, will be financed by the foundation, Parnon said.

Use

Because the concession stand is too close to where fireworks would be launched, the building will be closed during the town's annual Fourth of July fireworks display, Montanaro said. That was determined after a discussion with the town fire marshal, she said.

For athletic events, school organizations such as the band, cheerleaders and others can use the concession stand to raise money, Montanaro said.

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