On Monday, Greenwich Schools released a statement on the status of environmental testing at Greenwich High School.
According to the statement, the campus is safe and parking areas and athletic fields are available for use, though some areas remain fenced off.
The update went on to say that the site is in the State’s voluntary remediation program and that routine monitoring has not indicated offsite impacts.
“The town continues to work with State and Federal agencies to obtain approval for the remaining elements of the proposed work plans,” the district said in the statement.
During investigations and remediation, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will retain oversight.
Though walking paths to the school are open and athletic fields are open, some areas between the west parking lot and fields 3 and 4 remain inaccessible. According to the statement, fields 3 and 4 will remain fenced off until the final site-wide remediation is complete.
Groundwater studies will run through summer 2018 to supplement data collected in summer and fall 2017. The statement says the data are currently being evaluated.
Additional soil testing may also be performed in coordination with DEEP.
Contamination was discovered on the GHS campus back in 2011 when workers began preliminary work on MISA, which is short for Music Instructional Space & Auditorium. At the time, a backhoe operator noticed suspicious looking soil when he started digging.
Meanwhile, the district is looking into the feasibility of upgrading Cardinal Field at GHS.
At a meeting on Friday, Dec 22, 2017, a committee that includes BOE chair Peter Bernstein, Greenwich Schools Chief Operating Officer Lorianne O’Donnell, GHS Athletic Director Gus Lindine and GHS headmaster Chris Winters convened at Havemeyer to consider next steps.
The sense of the meeting was that the group favored Option B as presented by architect Russ Davidson. That option features an access road from East Putnam Avenue to cardinal Field, which would decrease congestion and increase safety.
During the meeting, the architect acknowledged there are deed restrictions** that govern the project that have yet to be worked out. The reference was to a 2003 Court Ordered Judgment and Stipulation governing lighting and any potential upgrades to GHS Cardinal Stadium.
In November, the Board of Education voted in favor of reopening the 2003 court order. The Board of Selectmen have yet to vote on initiating legal action.
Amid the issues with deed restrictions, environmental testing and remediation, and talk about possibly upgrading Cardinal field, that the school start time change at the high school from 7:30 to 8:30am, and dismissal from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, has exacerbated the shortage of illuminated fields and brought the town’s dilemmas to the forefront.
Since the Dec 22 meeting at Havemeyer, the architect, Mr. Davidson, was to host two focus group for stakeholders.
This Friday, the group will reconvene to vote on a preferred option to present to the Board of Education on Jan 18.
**Following are some of the deed restrictions:
- A minimum of 750 on-site parking spaces
- A “dark school” from sunset to sunrise
- A “green oasis” that must remain a wetlands in its natural state forever
- No outside sanitation facilities–school must remain open whenever field is in use
- Maximum number of days field can be used: 180
- Maximum number of nights field can be used: 3
- No structure can be more than 35 feet above grade level (except 4 light poles)
- No additional variances permitted
- No additional deed restrictions permitted without P&Z review
- 30 day notice via certified mail to abutting neighbors of all proposed site plan changes