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Carthage Board of Education approves emergency project

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WEST CARTHAGE — Carthage Central School District is getting a stripped down capital construction project — this time, without voter approval.

The Board of Education unanimously approved a $422,400 emergency capital project to upgrade the high school stage’s rigging equipment to a motorized system.

“I recommend the motorized version only because of the safety of the system,” said Superintendent Peter J. Turner.

Mr. Turner recommended the project at the April 8 board meeting after the $13.2 million capital project was defeated by the public 431-311 in March. That project included replacing the rigging as a part of a package of safety measures that also would have involved replacing a boiler dating to the 1950s, removing asbestos and installing security cameras.

The rigging was last replaced in 1965, and he said it would de dangerous for students to continue to use it for school plays.

The board had two options: to replace the existing system with the same type of manual rigging for $356,400 or pay more for a motorized system. With the latter option, all lifting is done with motors, doing away with counter-balance weights.

The project includes reinforcing the steel structure, replacing the rigging and replacing the stage floor.

Mr. Turner said $422,400 is the maximum the district will pay for the project but will hope for bids lower than that. The district will front the cost using fund balance and receive 98 percent aid back the following year if it is approved by the state Education Department, bringing the local cost down to $8,448 or less.

Declaring it an emergency project means the distinct can start the project sooner and get reimbursed the following year rather than gradually over time. The project would likely take place in December.

“Actually, this is the best kept secret in the world,” said board member Joseph A. Colangelo. “I don’t know what everyone else feels, but I say we do it. It’s a no-brainer, really.”

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