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Construction behind, but moving forward at OFA

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Construction at the Ogdensburg Free Academy is several weeks behind thanks to a longer than expected review process by the state Department of Education.

Contracts for the $15.3 million renovation project were not awarded until early July and Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey said the work schedule is being adjusted to reflect the lateness.

Mr. Vernsey said this year the project will focus on the tennis courts and baseball fields, the high school library, art room and several life skill classrooms.

Mr. Vernsey said the life skill classrooms will be fitted with bathrooms with better handicapped accessibility, new cabinets and new flooring.

While work is done in the high school library, the seventh and eighth grade library will be used as a temporary location for everyone.

“We’re still on target to start the auditorium in January,” Mr. Vernsey told Ogdensburg Board of Education members at Monday’s meeting.

But the project will not move beyond those areas this year, Mr. Vernsey said. That means renovations to the cafeteria will have to wait until next year as well as other smaller projects planned for the west side of the 1968 high school wing.

Once the project at OFA is complete there will be a restored Golden Dome roof, new turf field, new baseball fields, grandstands, tennis courts, a new concession building and renovations on the soccer and softball fields.

The project at OFA is phase three of a multiyear, $57 million district wide renovation effort.

Work at Kennedy Elementary School is also underway and Mr. Vernsey said contractors are working double shifts and on the weekends to ensure the building is ready for students in September.

“I think we’re going to be OK,” he said. “We’re going to be able to open school.”

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