Council Appoints High School Building Committee

Dostaler: 'This is a very diverse, talented and experienced group of people with a wealth of information and background.'


The East Hampton Town Council announced on Tuesday night who it had selected to form the new high school building committee.

A total of 16 candidates interviewed with the council on Sunday for a spot on the committee, “All with incredible credentials, background and energy,” Council Chair Sue Weintraub said.

The council met in executive session prior to its regular meeting on Tuesday to decide on the committee, which will consist of nine members, two of which will be alternates.

Council member Kyle Dostaler read a proclamation during the regular meeting announcing those chosen for the committee.

Those selected, with a brief background description, were:

Cynthia Abraham

  • Strategic Planner, Interior Designer, Project Manager
  • 25 years of experience in the architectural and construction industry specializing in strategic planning, space planning, interior design and project management for corporate and education clients
  • Two children went through the East Hampton school system

Stephen Karney

  • Construction Manager, Superintendent
  • Extensive experience with school construction, 37 years in the construction industry, former construction manager for Westerly, R.I., School Building Committee

Michael Zimmerman

  • Program Industrial Operations Manager, Procurement
  • Pratt & Whitney since 1998, degrees in engineering and management, operational roles dealing with hardware manufacturing, procurement and engine delivery to customers
  • Three children in the East Hampton school system, K, 3rd and 6th grade

Michele Barber

  • Professor of Biology, Chair of Science Department Norwalk Community College
  • Oversees faculty, staff members, students laboratory space
  • Served on building committee and was involved in all aspects of planning, construction for $25 million LEED certified Science and Wellness building

Sharon Smith

  • Business Manager, Glastonbury Public Schools
  • Chief Financial Officer for Glastonbury Public Schools
  • Responsible for all aspects of school system’s operations/support services including financial planning and budgeting, accounting, grant applications, student health services
  • Chief of Board of Education Representative on Steering Committees for four school construction projects

Roy Gauthier

  • Licensed electrical contractor for commercial, residential and industrial  
  • Small business owner with 40 years experience working with architects, engineers and building officials on both private and public projects

Tom Cooke

  • Residential and commercial contractor
  • Small business owner as licensed builder, OSHA certified, knowledge of building and fire safety codes
  • Four children currently in the East Hampton school system

David Ninesling (A)

  • Facilities Engineer, Project Engineer, Production Engineer
  • Experience in engineering, HVAC and network/IT areas
  • Responsible for operations and maintenance of an 8.5MW Cogeneration Plant at Hartford Hospital
  • Two boys ages 9 and 11 in the East Hampton school system

Tom Seydewitz (A)

  • Retired, Chief Fiscal Officer at Cedarcrest Hospital, Newington
  • 30 years of state employment, annual hospital budget preparation, general fund appropriation accounting
  • Was chairman of East Hampton Volunteer Ambulance Building Project
  • Served from 1991-1997 as appointed member to renovate all four of the Town's schools

Ninesling and Seydewitz will serve as alternates.

"This is a very diverse, talented and experienced group of people with a wealth of information and background," Dostaler said.

The project will be under the coordination, administration and general supervision of facilities manager Frank Grzyb.

The motion to accept the proclamation carried unanimously.

The first meeting of the committee will try to be scheduled for next week at which time a chair and vice chair will be elected. From there, the committee will decide on its meeting dates.

“I believe this the first administration that has kept politics out of a building committee of this nature,” Weintraub said. “We’re talking a multimillion dollar project. We’re going to have one elected official on it and that was intentional.”

Weintraub could not express enough how pleased she was with the pool of candidates.

“We looked for the best and the brightest,” she said. “Through the press release and word of mouth we got some incredible candidates. Not one of them I don’t want to have serve on some committee and we’ll find a place for them. As soon as we get the East Hampton High School Building Committee in place, then we can start moving forward with some other projects we need to do. I’m very excited. I think it will be a tremendous group to objectively look at what the high school needs and what we can afford.”

The board of education requested in January that the town council appoint a building committee to oversee the renovation of the high school and procure the funding from the board of finance to complete the preliminary designs and educational specifications and that the building committee include in its membership representation from the field of education and parents.

In March 2011, representatives from Kaestle Boos Associates, an architectural firm that specializes in the design of schools and other municipal buildings, and O & G Industries, a construction company based in Torrington, attended a board of education meeting to share their preliminary design, cost estimates and timeline for the school’s renovation, which included a science wing, an athletics building and other renovations.

The new science wing was touted as helping bring the school into step with modern technology, something the district is under pressure to do.

But little else was done to move the process along until this year.

The renovation and expansion of the high school is necessary to satisfy the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the group that grants accreditation to New England high schools. The NEASC has determined the school’s science laboratories to be sub-standard.

Most of the original building remains untouched since its construction in the mid-1960s. Of repairs done on the building since, the largest was a roof replacement performed by O & G in 1994.


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