DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien schools are seeking about $1.2 million to install new generators for the next event like Hurricane Sandy.
The plan is to buy a new generator for Darien High School, move its current generator to Middlesex Middle School and move the middle school's generator to Ox Ridge Elementary School. The district would then buy generators for Hindley, Holmes and Royle and upgrade the generator at Tokeneke.
The generator at Darien High School was installed to provide enough power so people could evacuate in case of an emergency, and to keep a boiler running and some lights on, said Facilities Director Michael Lynch. When the high school had to be used as a shelter during Sandy, crews had to rewire and max out the generator so the kitchen could cook meals and people could have hot showers. They also had to borrow a generator used for lights on the football field to power up the outside lights so people could find their way in.
They had to borrow another football light generator, which the town rents, to run pumps at Hindley during Sandy. If the water had hit the natural gas valves, it would have taken a month and cost around $50,000 to fix them.
Lynch said a bigger generator at the high school would allow the building to serve as the type of shelter the town needs in a situation like Sandy. If the other schools had generators they would be able to keep food in their freezers if the power went out, instead of having to move the food to the high school. The generators would not be able to power the schools enough so classes could be held, Lynch said.
Schools are also looking to improve its budget for tree care by $5,500 to $14,500. Lynch said they have identified a lot of older trees that are starting to die, which they want to remove before they become a potential danger. They also want to be a bit more proactive in pruning and trimming trees on school property.