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ICC school board awaits state OK on capital projects

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KINDERHOOK–At the meeting Tuesday, November 12, the Ichabod Crane School Board heard an update on costs for the major capital improvement project that will get under way in 2020. Larry Tune from Turner Construction, the company managing the project, said the costs are about 1% over the budgeted amount and the plans still need state approval.

“We are comfortable at 1%,” he told the board. Currently the constructions costs are estimated to be about $24 million.

The project, which includes major upgrades at the high school and middle school buildings, is still in the design phase. The designs will be sent to the state Education Department (SED) for review in early December and bids for construction will be issued in April. Mr. Tune said that bids needed to go out in the spring for work to start in the summer of 2020. “We need to get to the market as soon as possible,” he said.

Review times at SED have decreased significantly over the last year. Melissa Renkawitz, a representative from CSArch, the firm designing the project, said at the meeting that it should take 10 weeks for the state to review the project.

District residents approved spending $27 million on the project last December. That amount is for all the costs for the project, which include design work, construction and incidentals.

Board member Regina Rose asked what would happen if the project went over the $27 million. Other board members answered that the project cannot go over the amount approved by voters.

“We would have to have a conversation about what we would remove,” said board member John Antalek about what would happen if the construction bids come in higher than expected.

The plan includes work on the art, math, science and technology wings of the high school, as well as upgrades to the guidance offices. A technology wing will be added to the high school building. Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick said that during the construction of that wing, technology classes may move to the bus garage.

Ms. Renkawitz showed design images of the new rooms in the science wing and the technology room. She talked about paint colors and movable work spaces, saying that the rooms would get kids more excited, rather than “just a bland white box.”

Work in the middle school includes a major upgrade to the gym, which will add over 700 bleacher seats and the image of the ghost of Ichabod Crane riding along the side of the roof.

Phase 1 of the capital project has already been completed. The board celebrated the opening of a new on campus connector road between the middle school building and the primary school on November 6. The cost for the road project and repair to the high school roof was about $616,000.

The road has cut the time it takes for the morning and afternoon bus pick-ups and drop-offs. Mr. Bordick said the primary school will be most affected by the change in times. He and Transportation Supervisor Dan Doyle, who was at the meeting, said they are working on the new schedule and that they should know in the coming weeks.

Mr. Doyle said that the new road has shaved off about 15 minutes of bus time at the primary school. He also pointed out that the new Tyler Drive system, with GPS software for all the district buses, is up and running. Students have badges to swipe when they get on and off their bus. Parents can get an app on their phones so they know when their students will get home.

Also at the meeting:

• Mr. Bordick said that this year’s district enrollment numbers show a total of 1,723, which is down about 43 students from last year. He said the numbers track with decreased enrollment all over the capital region. He did say there had been a spike in homeschooled students this year, which he attributed to new state rules that removed exemptions for student without immunizations in school

• Mr. Bordick acknowledged the board for Board Appreciation Night, giving each board member a certificate and arranging a short concert by the high school chorus

• The board approved the memorandum of agreement between the district and the Ichabod Crane Teachers Association (ICTA) and also approved an agreement with the teachers’ association relating to a retirement incentive for eligible ICTA members

• The board changed the meeting date of the regular December meeting to Monday, December 9 due to winter concerts in the district and will hold a special meeting December 16 to introduce the newly hired superintendent. The board is currently conducting a closed search with consultants for a new head of the school district. They hope to have someone hired by the meeting in mid-December.

The next board meeting will be Monday, December 9 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com

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