Hartford district mulls next major construction project

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Photo by EJ Conzola II. Elizabeth Brutsch, an architect with CS Arch and Associates, goes over a proposed timeline for the approval of a possible $2.23 million capital project during the May 13 meeting of the Hartford Central School District Board of Education.

By EJ Conzola II

NYVT Media

HARTFORD—As work on the Hartford Central School District’s current capital project near completion, district officials are planning to ask voters to approve another major construction project at the district’s campus.

The Board of Education plans to ask voters to OK a $2.23 million project that will focus on addressing issues with the school’s septic system. The vote is tentatively set to take place in August and will come as the district completes an $8.86 million capital project that was approved in 2022.

Because the new project would not begin until the current project is completed, the new work should have no effect on the tax rate, said Elizabeth Brutsch, a senior architect with CS Arch and Associates, which is designing the new project.

The major part of the project will involve tracing and repairing leaks in the pipes that lead to the school’s septic system, Doug Heller of the engineering firm The LA Group told the school board at a recent meeting.

Several smaller projects, including renovating the art room, installing new bleachers in the gymnasium and paving several pads under trash containers, will also be included in the work.

The district has been pumping its leach field far more frequently than the estimated amount of water used in the school building should produce, Heller said. An examination of the two main lines carrying effluent from the building to the septic system conducted while the school was on break found one of the two pipes was roughly one-quarter full of water, even though there was no water being generated in the building, he said.

A minimal amount of groundwater is expected to seep into the pipes through tiny cracks that develop over time, Heller said, but the amount flowing through the pipe far exceeds what would normally be expected, he said.

The excess water does not appear to be coming from the wells that supply the school with water, Superintendent Andrew Cook said.

The area around the school does have a high groundwater table and the clay soil on which the school is built could be causing the water to flow through the pipes, which may have developed leaks over the years, Heller said.

The infiltration is resulting in extra costs to the district because of the need to pump out the system more often than would normally be necessary, Heller said.

The new project would not begin until the current capital project—which includes renovating the cafeteria and relocating the stage in that room to the current music room, converting a courtyard and a small portion of the library into a multipurpose room and auditorium, converting the girls’ lock room to a music room for the high school, building a new locker room and a new elementary music room and replacing the gymnasium floor—is nearing completion, with all of the work expected to done by October.