District working on $13.6M upgrade proposal

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The Greenville school district is considering a $13.6 million renovation project that is expected to have no impact on taxes, according to district officials. File photo

GREENVILLE — The school district is working to put a $13.6M tax neutral project to the voters in December.

Matthew Schools, of SEI Design Group, presented the plan as it currently stands at the board of education’s Aug. 8 meeting.

The August presentation was a follow-up to an April meeting where the design group presented preliminary plans for the project.

“This largely is a review for the board tonight,” Schools said. “We presented on a more local level and then came to the board with what we had prioritized. Everything started with the building condition survey process and we’ve boiled everything down into a prioritized project.”

Under the proposal as it currently stands, the middle/high school would see the addition of an art suite, art classroom renovation, roof restoration, improved ventilation, asbestos abatement and exterior masonry renovations.

“One of the bigger things we are looking to do is put an addition on the building to create a dedicated middle school and a dedicated high school art room,” Schools said. “Right now, they are in one space that really could be the space that one single art room should take up, so essentially they are two small art rooms. We want to add a little to the building and re-equalize the art rooms so they are essentially equal but larger collectively.”

Scott M. Ellis Elementary School would see renovations to classrooms in the front wing of the building, new heating system boilers, roof restoration, ventilation upgrades, plumbing upgrades and restoration of exterior masonry.

The elementary school would also see safety enhancements including construction of corridor connections leading to exit stairs on the first and second floors, as well as a new art room on the first floor, and a new music suite on the second floor. A multi-purpose gym addition would also be built under the proposal, and there would be plumbing and electrical upgrades.

Several classrooms, including a pre-K room and a 5th-grade classroom, would be expanded, including the addition of a restroom to the pre-K class.

Both buildings would be in line for roof restoration.

“The district has done a very good job in the past keeping up with roofs,” Schools said. “Right now, the approach is to apply coating to existing roofs that are in very good condition but just need more life to them — that’s a trend we are looking to continue and it has already been happening in the school district.”

Asbestos abatement is typically included in renovation projects on older buildings, as is restoration of exterior masonry on brick structures, Schools said.

If there is money left over when the main components of the project are completed, there are other jobs that could be undertaken, such as renovations to classrooms in the rear wing at the elementary school, door and hardware replacement, a new copy center, relocation of the guidance office and an additional restroom. Alternate projects at the middle/high school could include replacement of the cafeteria and auditorium, as well as mechanical heating and ventilation units, if funds are left over, according to the plan.

“Alternate scope is like a wish list,” Schools said. “It will be designed and if money is available, they would be included in the project.”

One component of the original plan presented in April was the addition of a pre-kindergarten classroom, but Schools said they have since learned that that part of the project would not be eligible for state funding, so it has been removed from the plan.

“When considering an addition to the school we looked at the numbers the way New York State Education would look at your numbers. They would look at the number of students you have and the number of classrooms that you have and say you don’t need any more classrooms,” Schools said. “When they say that, based on the math, it means you can’t get money from the state to add a new classroom.

The elementary school is in line for more renovations than the middle/high school in the current proposal, Schools said.

“We are looking at focusing in on the elementary school in this capital project,” he said. “It hasn’t had nearly the same amount of attention as the middle/high school.”

The total cost of the project would be $13,655,000, with $11,278,233 going to renovations to the elementary school and $2,386,767 for the middle/high school.

Of the total project cost, 95% is anticipated to be eligible for state aid and the project would have no impact on the tax rate for local taxpayers, Schools said.

The district is expected to finalize the concept design in September and the board would approve the preliminary budget in October. A newsletter outlining the details of the project would go out to district residents and a public information meeting would both be scheduled for November, with voters making the final decision in December.

If approved, the project would go out to bid between January and March 2024. Construction would begin in April 2024 and is expected to conclude in August 2025.

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