Renovation Team to Address Environmental Issues
WETHERSFIELD - With the March 19 state approval presentation approaching, the Wethersfield High School renovation team is working to address environmental and school safety issues that have been recently added to the project’s agenda.

       The team is planning the addition of around 100 security cameras, as well as design changes that will reduce the amount of glass surfacing at the school’s entrances and needs to combat the presence of PCBs inside the building.

       An inspection of the school’s interior revealed the presence of PCBs inside portions of expansion joint caulking, and the team is required by the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a remediation plan to deal with it, according to Wethersfield Town Councilor David Drake.

       “They found some in the building; not a lot,” Drake said. “Years ago it used to asbestos, now this has come up. Right now it’s kind of a hassle.”

       The development team is waiting for word from the EPA for advice on which mitigation method would be best to utilize. They can have it removed and disposed of completely, or try to encapsulate it, according to High School Building Committee Chair Christine Fortunato.

       The PCB presence has not been found to pose a danger, Fortunato said.

       “There have been tests taken of the air, and there’s no indication that there’s any problem with air quality in the building,” she said.

       With unexpected costs already making up a portion of the $75 million budget, the remediation plan is not expected to affect the bill too much, Drake said.

       “It’s going to cost a little money, but I don’t think the problem is the money, just getting it down in a plan,” he said.

       The team has to collaborate with the EPA to develop the plan before the March 19 deadline, which is not far away.

       “March 19 is important because you really want to do a lot in the summer, so you don’t want any delays,” Drake said.