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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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