Officials at New Milford High School said the first day of school has been delayed over a week due to ongoing renovations to restore the building after a fire broke out.
In a statement, Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo said the first day will now be Sept. 6 instead of Aug. 25. This delay applies to all schools in the district, grades pre-K-12.
Contractors working on the school when the fire broke out have been terminated. Since the fire broke out, a restoration company has been working to clean up heavy smoke and water damage.
The entire high school building is being assessed and air quality tests are being submitted this week, according to the school district.
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School officials said 30 to 50 portable classrooms are being sourced and the mayor has already signed off on the cost. They're still waiting for approval from the insurance carrier.
DiCorpo said work has already been started to align sewer, water and electrical hookups to the portable classrooms in preparation of their arrival. It could take up to six weeks to receive some of the portable classrooms.
"With only 38 days until the start of school, and the proposed arrival time of some portables of approximately four to six weeks, arrival could be on, before, or even slightly after August 29," DiCorpo said in a statement.
Mayor Pete Bass said a new contracting group has not yet been hired because state funding may be pending.
The fire marshal said the fire is still under investigation and has not declared the cause. However, the fire started on the roof, where contractors were doing work using a blow torch to melt adhesive.
If this were the cause, the mayor said it would not be the first time, citing a smaller fire last fall.
“The contractor did do a hot patch the first time which did cause a fire,” Bass said last week.
The mayor said United Roofing & Sheet Metal was allowed to use the blow torch method in the fall because cooler weather meant temperatures were below the adhesive manufacturer’s recommendations. The process was not approved this time.