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Schools hold Petrova tour for capital project

SARANAC LAKE — The school district held its second building tour and informational meeting for its $18.8 million capital project at Petrova Elementary and Saranac Lake Middle School Tuesday night.

The meeting focused on elementary and middle school improvements, which will include re-configuring the bus loop and parking area to separate bus traffic from parking.

“We have buses trying to come in and buses trying to get out, and you know, if (parents) try to drop them off on the other side, then we got the little tikes trying to cross in front of the buses,” Director of Facilities Vernon James said. “It’s just a huge safety nightmare. We keep our fingers crossed every day that nobody gets hurt.

“We’ve got three plans over there; nothing is a definite yet. It’s just three conceptual plans we’ve come up with that look like they might work to basically separate the bus drop-off and the parent drop-off. So the buses would have their own lane to get in and out, and the parents would have their own lane to get in and out so we keep them separate and not crossing traffic and trying to get the traffic off of Petrova Ave. where it backs up.”

The school will also replace deteriorated sidewalks and curbing, improve storm drainage, replace the 1993 roof, renovate corridor walls and ceilings and replace carpeting.

“The carpets are all very old, very worn,” James said. “They’ve been cleaned a lot, they’ve got a lot of spots on the them. We get issues in this one (in the elementary library) in the fall as the carpet usually bubbles at some of the seams. It needs replacing. As we can see in the middle school library, you’ll see a lot of the joints we’re the carpets been seamed together. We’ve got runners where its got caught in the vacuum and ragged edges.”

The district is also seeking to put in new boilers and primary pumps, replace unit ventilators and HVAC controls and install a new generator.

“The generator is one of the things we’re looking to replace,” James said. “One, it’s not big enough to power the entire building … all it powers is the boilers and a couple of light bulbs throughout the building. If we lose power during the day or in the evening where in the dark here. The other thing is it is not automatic start so if we lose power I have to get somebody here to start it.

“The oil boilers provide the heat for the building. They are 1969 vintage in desperate need of replacement, knock on wood. They are in very good shape and very well taken care of, but in 40-plus years, there’s been a lot of fuel oil going through them so they’re getting tired.”

The district will also replace the fire alarm system, create a secure vestibule at the main entry, upgrade wiring to support the Voice over Internet Protocol system, install new video surveillance and replace the public announcement system.

The total project cost for the elementary and middle school will be approximately $1.7 million in Phase 1A, which officials anticipate will start in the summer, $3.2 million in Phase 1, which is expected to start in 2018 upon state approval, and $3 million in Phase 2, which is anticipated in 2023.

The capital project will also include infrastructure, power and security upgrades to Bloomingdale Elementary School, the former Lake Colby Elementary School, which now offers day care services, Saranac Lake High School and the bus garage.

School officials expect to tackle the project in three phases: a $2 million Phase 1A focused on Petrova and the high school, a $10.4 million Phase 1, and a $6.4 million Phase 2. The school will make general, electrical and plumbing updates to all schools in phases 1 and 2.

“The list actually came to $43 million if we were to upgrade everything that was a recommendation for an upgrade,” Superintendent Diane Fox said. “There’s no way our community could support that, nor would we ask that of our community.

“We really have spent a lot of time on taking that list and paring it down and paring it down again and again to what we really feel, in order to keep our buildings safe, secure, healthy and energy-efficient and still meet the new demands of education with all the technology, is what we need with no fluff.”

The district will hold its last tour and information meeting at the Bloomingdale Elementary library at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 5.

The capital project vote will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 10 at the high school district office on Canaras Avenue.

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