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Albion will pursue $14 million capitol project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2015 at 12:00 am

More roof repairs, building maintenance needed

Photo by Tom Rivers – A proposed building project would demolish the current district office, a metal structure from 1964 that was intended to be temporary – 20 years at the most. The district office employees will move to space in the middle school.

ALBION – The school district will present a $14.37 million capital project to voters on May 19, a project that will address many maintenance issues throughout the district campus.

Putting the work in a capital project will make Albion eligible for state aid, perhaps as much as 90 percent of the cost. Albion already has $1.3 million in a capital reserve account to cover nearly the entire local match. Albion also has some leftover state EXCEL funds that could be applied as the local share, said Michael Bonnewell, district superintendent.

The district’s overall campus is in good shape, but several smaller projects should upgrade the buildings and grounds, reducing maintenance and some energy costs for years to come, the Board of Education was told on Monday.

“Your buildings are in great shape,” said Luc Lefebvre, a senior project architect with King & King Architects in Syracuse. “We’re always surprised at how well they are maintained.”

Lefebvre worked with other building and infrastructure specialists on a building conditions survey of the district. The conditions survey is required by the State Education Department every five years.

Lefebvre has worked on two other building condition surveys before with Albion. While the campus doesn’t have major glaring needs, many projects could be tackled in a capital project.

Lefebvre and the other inspectors made a list of priority projects that were approved by the Board of Education.

The project would replace roofs, upgrade parking lots, improve drainage on athletic fields, resurface the track, and add some exterior lighting and utilize more LED lights.

The District Office, currently housed in what was intended to be a temporary metal building in the 1964, would be demolished and those offices would shift to existing space at the middle school. Moving the offices to the middle school will save the district from completing needed repairs to the current “temporary” space, Bonnewell said. Most of the district office space was replaced in a 2000 capital project.

The capital project, outlined during Monday’s Board of Education meeting, would also include stronger doors at school entrances and card access controls.

The fire alarm would be replaced with a new system at the elementary school, which would also see a relocated flag pole to the front of the building, HVAC upgrades, additional exterior lighting, and a new playground on west side.

The school would also receive a shading system on the south side to reduce solar heat gain in the warmer months. That side of the building gets hotter than other parts of the school in September and October, and in May and June when the weather warms up.

Albion also wants to replace some single-pane windows in the middle school with more energy-efficient windows, upgrade the sound booth, improve the boiler and heating system, add exterior lights to northeast side of the school, widen the sidewalk by bus loading zone and replace decaying steel hand railing with aluminum ones.

At the high school, the 1,200 high school lockers that are 9 inches wide would be replaced with 800 lockers that would be a foot wide. The bigger lockers would allow students to better store their thick backpacks and winter coats.

The high school library would also be repurposed with new technology to meet the needs of the 21st Century, Lefebvre said.

The district also was encouraged to put in a new condensing boiler system, to replace a tri-fuel system. The condenser system would use less energy.

The capital would also include work on the bus garage, adding an emergency generator, and new doors and lighting.

If the voters give the project their blessing on May 19, the construction documents would need to be prepared and sent to the State Education Department for its review, which is currently a 7-month process.

Lefebvre said it will be a tight schedule to get everything on track so bids could be approved in spring 2016 with work to start that summer. The project would be finished in the summer 2017.