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ICC ponders space squeeze during upgrade construction

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KINDERHOOK–Ichabod Crane Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick held a community forum Wednesday, October 30, about where students will be moved during the major construction project in the district starting in 2020.

Mr. Bordick said he would review the plans, which are preliminary until final designs are approved by the state Education Department and the work is put out for bids on construction. But he described the plans he was presenting at the meeting as “pretty solid.”

He said the district and the construction firm managing the project needed to figure out, “How do you do this project with students and staff in the building?”

Residents approved the $27-million capital improvement project last December. The plans included work on all the buildings in the district, with the biggest projects in the middle and high school buildings. Phase I of the project is almost complete. That phase included work on the roof over the high school auditorium and the construction of a connector road between the middle and primary school buildings. Work on the road was just completed. Mr. Bordick said at the meeting that the district will need some time to organize the new bus pattern. School buses will be able to drop off students at the high school, middle school and primary school without having to go back onto Route 9 and State Farm Road. Mr. Bordick said it would cut about 10 minutes off of travel time for students.

Only a handful of district residents attended the forum last week, along with several board members, but they asked questions about the project, which includes renovations to the math, science and art wings of the high school and a new technology wing.

The guidance office will also be worked on, and Mr. Bordick said that the guidance office staff will move to the high school main office while the high school administration will move to the central office. The guidance office is a smaller project than the construction planned for the math, science and art wings.

Work on the art wing will come first, starting in June of 2020. After the art wing is completed, work will begin on the math wing in December 2020. In April 2021 to August 2021, work is scheduled to start on the science wing. A major upgrade to the technology wing, which is being built out from the current technology room in the high school, is scheduled for 2021-22.

The area where the most students will need to move around during the construction is in the middle school, where work will start on the 4th and 5th grade wings in the summer of 2020. Mr. Bordick said the district must find about 12 classrooms for those students during the construction. He said that students will have to have classes in the gym, in a large art room and on the stage. The superintendent said that in the worse case scenario some 4th grade classes would remain in the primary school until the work is done on that wing in December. But he said the plans are a work in progress. “We’re going to find those spaces,” he said of classrooms.

He presented the plan to the teachers in earlier October for review and to hear their suggestions.

The next wing to be worked on will be the 7th and 8th grade wing and, finally, the 6th and 7th grade wing. Mr. Bordick said the plan was to have all three wings, or pods, completed in the 2020-21 school year.

The other major work at the middle school includes upgrades to the gym, which will start in September of 2021 and finish in August of 2022. “That will be a pretty big project,” he said, adding that gym teachers are going to have to be creative with their classes during that school year and find “non-traditional” programs while they do not have use of the gym. He pointed out that gym classes can use the cafeteria and other spaces in the middle school.

“This is a massive, complex project,” he said of the whole construction project. “It’s not going to be easy,” he said and he stressed it will not be without complaints.

Representatives from the architects for the plan, CSArch, and Turner Construction, the company managing the plan, will be at the next board meeting, Tuesday, November 12 at 7 p.m. in the primary school.

There is also information on the capital project on the district’s website at www.ichabodcrane.org

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com

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