The Byron-Bergen Central School Board of Education approved the beginning phase of the nearly $18.4 million Capital Improvement project to the elementary and junior-senior high school on Thursday.
Jason Benfante, from Clark Patterson Lee, an architecture, engineering and planning firm from Rochester, presented the project that has been in the works since 2015.
“The improvements that we are proposing are much needed,” Benfante said. “I walk through the halls of the elementary school and they are well maintained, but the facilities aren’t equipped. Teaching philosophies have changed from 1968 to 2017. The way you teach has changed. We’re trying to get the building to adapt to that.”
The elementary school will get improved site circulation and parking, bus loop and parent drop-off, and a classroom addition. Inside the school, there will be envelope improvements (these include the foundation, floor systems, duct work, walls, and roof), mechanical improvements, classroom renovations and security, bathroom renovations, and kitchen equipment upgrades.
The elementary renovations total $9,173,980.
Benfante said the last time the elementary school was renovated was the late 1960s.
Board members recalled when they attended the elementary school as students, saying that the building still looks the same.
“I can remember what it was like,” said Tammy Menzie, a board member. “I don’t think people realize that it is identical to what it used to look like.”
Debra List, the president of the board, said the elementary school needs attention that it has not received.
“After 60 years, things are old, things are worn and things need to be replaced,” List said.
The middle-high school will receive envelope improvements, mechanical improvements, theatrical upgrades, fire alarm upgrades, interior alterations, and a roof replacement. These renovations will cost $5,460,805.
The bus garage will also receive a new roof, costing $584,500. The roof blew off last spring, and they were able to get a temporary roof. Replacing the roof has now become a priority, Benfante said.
The track and stadium will also receive new bleachers that will be handicap accessible, costing $427,595. The natatorium -- the building which houses the swimming pool --will receive envelope improvements, mechanical improvements, interior alterations and roofing replacement over a storage section. Those renovations will cost $459,130.
“We looked at what we could do to better our schools, without impacting our taxes,” List said.
With each area that will be renovated, aid is available, with 85.7 percent coming from the state.
“We made a conservative effort to put as much of the projects as aidable,” Benfante said. “We want to maximize aid for this project. That was a goal of ours.”
In the fall, Benfante plans on holding public presentations to gain interest from residents. There will be a public vote from noon until 9 p.m. on Sept. 21 at the Elementary School auditorium. Provided the vote passes, construction will begin in the summer of 2018, with the hope of the project being completed in the fall of 2020.
Benfante said the construction schedule is aggressive, so it will be done in phases in order to finish on time.
“We’d be looking to get the most critical sites done as soon as possible,” Benfante said. “The bus garage would probably go first.”