The concession stand was sidelined as the Town Council compromised Monday night, adding $2 million to the school's $64 million bonding package to complete interior work first then the exterior.
The Building Committee had requested $3.2 million. The vote was bipartisan, with two members, Debra Lamberti and Tony Scinto voting against it.
Town Councilman Michael London made the motion after lengthy discussions about the concession stand and the parking lot paving.
"I think it's a nice compromise," he said, adding that the building committee could return to request additional funds.
Councilman James Meisner added, "I would support that in the spirit of getting something done."
Councilman John DelVecchio agreed. "If it takes $2 million to compromise, let's compromise and get this over with. At the end of the day, I want those classrooms ready" so the school will be construction-free, he said.
First Selectman Tim Herbst said he wanted floors, doors, sidewalks and paving, in that particular order. Before the meeting, Herbst had threatened to veto additional funding for the project, which began eight years ago.
"I would like to see the building get buttoned up as quickly as possible," Herbst said Monday night.
There was a brief exchange before the vote where Councilwoman Martha Jankovic-Mark accused Herbst of "micromanaging" the building committee by trying to word the bonding proposal.
"Ms. Mark, don't argue with me," Herbst said, referring the meeting going late. He added that the renovations have taken a long time and have stirred up many residents' emotions.
London then called the question.
Councilman Chadwick Ciocci called the addition a "reasonable compromise." But, he noted, polished floors and matching doors do not "add anything of value to the education of our students."
Councilwoman Vicki Tesoro said the unpolished floors compared to the polished floors are like "night and day." The floors are original to the school.
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Scinto objected to the amount of change orders so far in the project, reaching several million dollars. He said he wanted to see them under control before giving the building committee more money.
Problems caused by the heavy winter from 2010 to 2011, including a leak in the new auditorium's roof, have been or are being fixed, said Jim Nugent, building committee chairman.
Spectators applauded after the vote.
Cooking Up Another Concession Stand
The council unanimously agreed that the concession stand's price needs to come down. The lowest bid came in at more than $700,000 while the council sought a bid of $515,000.
The low bid would have bought a concession stand with bathrooms. THS students earned $12,000 last year for the school, said Councilman Gregg Basbagill, a THS teacher.
But the current building violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the building committee.
The council also tackled paving. The THS parking lot is 40 years old and built on a swamp and a landfill. Public Works Director John Marsilio said he wants to "reclaim" the lot by grinding up the top layer and mixing it with asphalt before repaving it.
Money could be saved if the town oversees the work instead of hiring a contractor, the council noted.
At the end of the meeting, the council apologized to Nugent and other members of committee who answered the council's questions.