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Norwood-Norfolk Central School to hold June 4 capital project vote

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NORFOLK — Residents of the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District will be going to the polls in May to vote on the district’s 2014-15 budget and election of board of education members. Then, a month later, they’ll be heading to the polls again to cast their votes on a proposed capital project.

The vote for the approximately $13.5 million project will be June 4. Board members this week approved the state environmental quality review for the kindergarten through grade 12 building, bus maintenance and delivery building, parking lots and track and soccer field.

“I have the scope the architects have provided. (Residents) will be voting on the whole package. They’ll be voting on the amount,” Superintendent James M. Cruikshank told board of education members this week.

He said the district’s facilities manager has been asked to go through the list of proposed items and prioritize them based on necessity. Mr. Cruikshank said he would provide the list to board members for review and feedback.

Architects presented board members with the proposed scope of the capital project work in January. William F. Taylor, president of William Taylor Architects, Syracuse, had said that final price tag was likely to change, but by how much depended on what pieces of the project board members want to address. It was based on their initial walk-through of buildings and discussions with district employees.

Mr. Taylor had predicted that if the project was approved by voters, they could send the plans to the state Education Department in October or November. That review would take six to eight months, putting the approval in the summer of 2015. The bid process would take three to four weeks, with work starting in August 2015 at the earliest.

Scott L. Freeman, a landscape architect with Keplinger Freeman Associates LLC, East Syracuse, told board members in January that among the proposals was to revamp the parking lot to separate private vehicles from buses and provide a safer driving environment. One consideration in their preliminary drawing was adding a third entrance and drop-off area in a traffic circle in front of the elementary school.

A dedicated bus area would enable students to board safely and walk into their separate schools without worrying about vehicles, Mr. Freeman said.

The plan presented to board members would increase parking lot spaces from 366 to 368.

Work inside the buildings would include addressing asbestos and code issues, Mr. Taylor had told board members. In replacing some tiles, he said they would use a different look in the middle school to separate it as its own school.

Mr. Taylor had also pointed out areas of the school that had code issues to address, such as the distance between stairs and exterior doors.

The initial proposal also calls for an addition to the bus garage; new auditorium lighting, audio curtains and seating; new bleachers in the high school gym; replacement of an older, diesel-fueled generator with one that would use natural gas; converting a steam-heating system to hot water and upgrades to the emergency management system.

Some components may be scrapped depending on cost. “You can start taking off from the bottom. Those are the less priority things,” Mr. Cruikshank said.

Board member Thomas W. Scott pointed out that no matter what the project costs, the funding is not related to the district’s operational budget.

“There are pots of money totally dedicated by the state” to construction, he said.

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