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School district to begin major building improvements

— The Skaneateles Board of Education has started discussing plans to make major improvements to the middle school and high school buildings during the next six years at what is expected to be a large price tag which will need to be approved by public bond sometime in 2013.

The anticipated improvement projects were discussed at the Dec. 18 BOE meeting, during a presentation by the board’s facilities committee. Committee member Keith Krieger said the committee has been assessing the two buildings’ infrastructure needs for many meetings in recent weeks, including a walk-through of the buildings to look at building cracks, unsuitable windows and spots where asbestos needs to be removed.

Last week the facilities committee met to review the entire infrastructure project and discuss how to fund the “potential renovations” in years to come, Krieger said.

Dale Bates, assistant superintendent for business and finance, said he will make a full presentation on the potential project finances and resident tax implications at a board meeting in January. No numbers or estimates were offered during the Dec. 18 meeting.

Krieger said the infrastructure project will be spread in four phases:

Phase 1 will include asbestos abatement, roofs for both buildings, boiler replacement and masonry restoration.

Phase 2 will include HVAC, lights and ceiling replacements.

Phase 3 will include general building renovations, new computer labs, a new generator, elevator work (mandated by federal law) and general technology improvements including the addition of classroom white boards.

Phase 4 will include a complete renovation of the middle school gymnasium and locker rooms, and improvements to the grandstands and press box on the high school football field.

Board member Michael E. Card suggested to the board that the project architects be tasked with evaluating building security and safety in light of the recent elementary school shooting in Connecticut, saying, “I realize we can’t make everything bulletproof, but I think we need to do a reassessment of our buildings.”

BOE President Evan Dreyfuss said the infrastructure projects will be of a medium-to-long range plan to be phased in over about six years, with funding being “something we’ll have to bring to the voters in 2013.”

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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if 1 year, 8 months ago

WHAT! We just completed millions of dollars in renovations to the schools. Are you telling me the infrastructure was not updated? If I ran my business this way I would be bankrupt! Our school enrollment has been on the decline for the past 15 years and will continue declining as New York continues to lose jobs. Let's back up the bus and take a hard look at what we "need" from a facility standpoint. I suspect we could close Waterman, lease it out to a private entity to convert it to a seniors facility. School would receive lease revenue, community would benefit from a senior facility, seniors in large homes in the Village would sell their homes to move into the senior facility, new families may move in to these homes, local contractors may get some renovation work. But most of all our seniors could interact with our youth. Watching games, programs for high schoolers to interact with seniors, etc....

Let's start thinking out of the box.

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