The Board of Education delayed the vote on educational specifications for the Fairfield Ludlowe High School expansion project Tuesday prior to the adoption of the 2013-14 budget.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Title told the board that the proposed project would cost between $8 million and $23 million -- $8 million to expand the school and replace the windows and $23 million to address additional building deficiencies.
The minimum work that must be done is expand the cafeteria, add classroom space, and replace the windows energy-efficient units, Title said.
If approved by all town bodies, two science labs would be built on top of the expanded cafeteria. Another four general purpose classrooms would be added to the high school.
The school will need the extra space as student enrollment is currently 10.8 percent over its 1,400-student design capacity and is projected to be 22.7 percent over the capacity by the 2016-2017 school year, according to the educational specifications and project outline drafted for the board.
The full, $23 million plan includes the work above plus the replacement of the roof, relocation of the teachers lounge to free up additional classroom space, relocation/enhancement of the senior lounge, renovation of student lavatories, and the addition of lockers.
"We have to decide what level of ed specs we want to forward to the town," Title said.
Board member Sue Brand said she has never seen project options go before the board like this.
"We don't try to do what a building committee does, and this is what that is," she said, referring to the proposed project outline distributed to the board.
Paul Fattibene moved to postpone the vote.
"There's a space need we have to address, but the more pressing issue is with the budget right now," he said. "Expansion is required, but the project can be impacted by our budget decision."
But board member Perry Liu said he felt the board needed to have the conversation, and it was "apropos" that it was on the same agenda as the budget vote.
"We're talking about adding $8 to $23 million to a building while also talking about cutting programs...this is a fault of not dealing with population," he said.
"The board has not had a real conversation."
With the vote to postpone -- which turned out to be unanimous -- the conversation will be continued at the school board's next regular meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Board of Education Conference Room (501 Kings Highway East).