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Edwards-Knox may embark on building project

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RUSSELL — The Edwards-Knox Central School District is considering launching a $7.5 million building renovation project to improve energy efficiency, beef up security and upgrade parts of the building.

School Superintendent Suzanne L. Kelly said district officials want to use $400,000 in state Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning aid that’s been earmarked to the district because there’s no guarantee that funding source will continue in future years.

It’s expected that state building aid would cover the majority of the remaining project cost.

“We’re a very high-aid district, so we’re hoping that this project won’t have any impact on local taxes,” Ms. Kelly said.

Items related to building safety, security and energy savings are all covered under EXCEL grant money.

Giving examples, Ms. Kelly said the stage curtains in the district’s auditorium are unlikely to pass inspection and need to be replaced at an estimated cost of $30,000 to $40,000. After two decades, the curtains have started to deteriorate and no longer can be sprayed with flame retardant material as required.

To improve safety during student drop-off and pickup, the district would like to separate buses from other vehicles by installing separate driveways.

“That has been a concern for awhile,” the superintendent said.

A special meeting to discuss the proposed capital project is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the library. It will include a tour of the building complex led by Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Albert “John” Daniels Jr.

Representatives from three architectural firms gave presentations to school board members at their meeting Tuesday: Ashley McGraw Architects, King & King Architects and SEI Design, all of Syracuse.

A preliminary list divides work projects into three categories: safety-related, energy savings and building-related.

Proposed safety items include an emergency generator upgrade, fire alarm upgrade for the school and bus garage, installation of more durable light fixtures in the gymnasium, stair tread replacement in original building stairways, stage curtain replacement, double-pane window replacement, camera system upgrade, swing stops for emergency windows and separate entry and exits from the front parking lot.

Energy-saving measures include power generation from biomass hot water, solar thermal for pool heat when the biomass unit is not operating and adding photovoltaic panels for electrical power generation.

Lighting upgrades for the pool and bus garage are proposed. Installing LED lighting in classrooms and hallways is also on the list.

The preliminary list also includes 13 building-related upgrades including replacing doors, and reconfiguring the main office area and the main serving line in the downstairs cafeteria.

A list of 11 lower-priority items is also being considered, including paving and resurfacing the school’s parking lots and driveways, making upgrades to the baseball field, installing a greenhouse for the agriculture program and installing an electric timing system for pool swim meets.

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