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Board discusses facilities committee recommendations

Nov. 24, 2015

The Schalmont Board of Education last night continued its discussion on the recommendations and proposed capital project put forth by the facilities committee at the previous meeting. [read about the committee findings and recommendations here]

Administrators had been waiting to hear back from the New York State Education Department on whether roof and related repairs to Transportation Building 100 would be considered aidable, meaning that the state would reimburse 59 percent of the cost for the project. They were informed at the end of last week that while the relocation of the bus repair garage, a new bus wash, renovated transportation offices as well as roof work to those sections would be aidable, the roof work to the remaining part of the building that houses the buses would not be.

“The cost to do what desperately needs to be done just to occupy the building is $4 million,” project architect Karl Griffith said. “These are big numbers not to be aidable.”

However, Superintendent Carol Pallas is not ready to give up.

“I had a talk with the head of the department and explained our bigger picture. He said that upon further analysis of our proposal, he might reconsider aid,” she said. “However, if we don’t get the aid, this would need to go back to the committee.”

Board members discussed what the options could be available for the district in either case. Given the state of the transportation building currently, the district would need to plan for some type of repair or to vacate the property, regardless of state aid, Pallas said.

Options discussed included:

• Support the recommendation of the facilities committee for the full project

• Vacate Building 100 and convert the fields behind Jefferson to bus storage

• Vacate Building 100 and convert the fields behind the middle school to bus storage

• Demolish Building 100, repave it, and use it for storage

• Vacate Building 100 and purchase another property

“Each option has its pros and cons and associated cost,” Pallas said.

If the buses were to be stored outside, the district would have to install block heaters, which would also require electrical and plumping systems. The transportation offices would also have to be relocated or repaired.

Pallas said that more research would need to be done on all options before accurate estimates could be discussed.

“Basically we are at a standstill until will know if the roof is aidable,”said Board President Michael Pasquarella.

The board moved to hold another work session on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Middle School LGI to further discuss the matter as well as review the scope associated with each area recommend by the committee, including the high school, middle school, Jefferson Elementary and the baseball, softball and stadium fields.