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Liverpool: 'Neglected' buildings facing repair

There's a river in the basement of Liverpool Middle School that runs through the crawlspace every spring thaw.

Liverpool Elementary School, despite having one of the highest percentages of special needs students in the district, isn't in compliance with standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

"These two buildings have suffered from tremendous neglect over the last 50 years," said Liverpool Central School District Board of Education President J. Mark Lawson. "That's got to stop."

The capital improvements to both buildings, as well as some at the Wetzel Road complex, were discussed at the board's last meeting Monday Nov. 19. Cost estimates were not available at that meeting -- they will be discussed at the board's next meeting Dec. 3 -- it was clear that both village schools are in desperate need of repair.

"There's an embarrassing disparity" between LE and LMS and other buildings in the district, Lawson said. "These buildings are falling apart. It's something you associate more with the crumbling inner city."

The improvements to both schools were discussed in a presentation by Nick Signarelli of Ashley McGraw Architects, the firm working with the district on all of its improvement projects.

"We initially looked at Liverpool Elementary and Liverpool Middle School when we did our five-year [capital improvements] plan in 2004," Signarelli said. "At that point we made it a priority to renovate them."

Aside from minor updates in the 1960s and 1970s, LE and LMS have not been renovated since they were constructed in 1953 and 1957, respectively. Signarelli said the renovations under the project proposal would allow the schools to save more energy, update their electrical and mechanical systems and address some program needs.

At both schools, the renovations would create a separate loop for buses; as it is now, both buildings have one loop shared by buses, walkers and car traffic (students being dropped off or picked up by parents).

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