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Potsdam school board presented with list of potential alternate items for capital project

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POTSDAM - With approval pending for the Potsdam Central School’s District’s $13 million capital project, board members were presented with a list of potential alternate items that could be included if money remains after the project’s base work is completed.

SEI Design Group architect Matthew J. Schools presented a $3 million list of options he said he would like to see prioritized by the board before bids are awarded for the project’s work.

“The administration and buildings and grounds committee need to prioritize and alternates list,” said Superintendent Patrick H. Brady, who added he would like to see that accomplished prior to the board’s May 13 meeting, with hopes that the entire board could approve the list at that time.

Board of education member Frederick C. Stone Jr. said he was concerned that publicly sharing what the district’s priorities were could impact the price they’re given by a contractor.

“I’m kind of opposed to setting hard, fast priorities and having it out there in public,” Mr. Stone said. “That could affect pricing. Contractors could conceivably increase pricing if there is a consensus on a primary alternate, knowing that’s what our number one priority is.”

Board of education member Wade A. Davis, who also chairs the district’s buildings and grounds committee, agreed.

“I agree wholeheartedly,” he said.

Ultimately the board decided to have its members share their priorities with Superintendent Patrick H. Brady, who will work with the buildings and grounds committee to prioritize the list of alternate projects.

Among the items the board will be reviewing are replacing the ceiling in the middle school, removing the tiered seating from the large instruction room in the middle school and repaving the building’s parking lot. The kitchen renovations for the middle school were also included as an alternate, although they are in the project’s basic scope, because if the proposed merger between the Canton and Potsdam Central School District’s moves forward the middle school kitchen would then become irrelevant.

At the high school, alternates include replacing the auditorium ceiling and lighting, new lockers and doors for the 1929 wing of the building, a reconfiguration of the technology wing that would turn four classrooms into three, a reconfiguration of special education classroom space, new seating for the auditorium, bathroom renovations in the 1929 wing, new windows and doors for the building’s rear entrance and replacing the basement lighting. Lighting for the first and second floors is including the base bid.

One alternative item at the elementary school is replacing the building’s panel board.

Work at the bus garage is also included as an alternate project with paving, relocating the fuel tank and installing new overheard doors, including together as one bid item.

Mr. Schools said a list of alternatives is something included with any project they do, adding, “Usually the list is longer than what the project can afford.”

The project’s base scope includes $13 million in work spread across the district.

Highlights of that work at the high school includes lighting upgrades and ceiling replacement, emergency lighting and, if necessary, asbestos abatement. The major part of the project though is converting the original building from a steam heating system to a hot water system. Masonry repairs will also be made to the outside of the building, which will also undergo a face lift.

Work at the middle school will include lighting upgrades, as well as ceiling replacement and upgrades to the building’s electrical system.

Other improvements include upgrading the building’s locks, ventilations system door replacements, kitchen upgrades and repaving the building’s sidewalks and parking lots.

At the elementary school work is scheduled to include lighting upgrades, ceiling replacement, repairs to the rear sidewalk, installation of security cameras, renovations to the playground, additional renovations to the crawl space, kitchen upgrades and the reconfiguring of office space.

Work will also include the removal of old carpets, which will be replaced with vinyl flooring, and the removal of asbestos flooring.

District-wide work is scheduled to include a new fire alarm system, as well as secure entrances for each of the buildings and other security upgrades.

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