Geneva schools plan $7M in upgrades

If all goes as planned, a wide-ranging upgrade of the Geneva City SchoolDistrict¹s facilities will start later this year and be finished inSeptember 2010. More than 60 percent of district voters approved a capital project of nearly$7 million in a referendum Sept. 16. The project would fill the district¹sgreatest facilities needs with no additional impact on the local tax levy,Superintendent Dr. Robert Young has said. The upgrade includes new roofs, boilers and lockers at North Street and WestStreet elementary schools, computer hardware and relocation of thedistrict¹s network operations center to the first floor of Geneva HighSchool on Carter Road, and installation of 10 interactive computer ³smartboards² at each of the district¹s four schools. Project planning began after residents approved the proposal last fall.According to a project schedule put together by Tetra Tech Architects andEngineers, design elements of the work are being addressed from Nov. 21through this month. A public presentation on design development is to bemade to the Board of Education on Feb. 9. All construction documents are to be completed by March 27 and approved bythe district on April 3, with a presentation at a school board meeting April6, when the project will be submitted to the state Education Department forits review. The state review is to be completed with the department¹sapproval on Sept. 28, according to the schedule. The school board would advertise for bids on Oct. 5, open bids on Nov. 2 andaward bids on Nov. 9 of this year. It is estimated that the constructionwill take 220 days, starting on Nov. 10 and ending on Sept. 13, 2010. Almost all of the project¹s $6,997,500 cost would be covered by state aid,Young said. Building aid, incentive aid and reorganization aid would pay for98 percent of the total cost, and the balance would be covered by EXCEL aid.The district would pay $8,000 per year in borrowing costs for the projectout of reserve funds ­ leaving no additional impact on the local tax levy,he said. EXCEL stands for Expanding our Children¹s Education and Learning. Thestate is offering the aid to upstate and large-city school districts forprojects in five areas: education technology; health and safety; handicappedaccessibility; energy conservation and physical capacity expansion. Genevais eligible for $1,924,538 in EXCEL aid.Young said the project makes financial sense because the district can usejust $140,350 of the EXCEL aid (2 percent of the total cost) to leverage thenearly $7 million in work. This leaves $1,783,188 in EXCEL aid that thedistrict could use in the future to leverage the cost of further schoolimprovements. Young said the project was developed after the district identified itsmost pressing facilities needs. He said the project also would allow the district to employ more modernclassroom technology ­ wall-mounted ³smart boards¹¹ ­ which are used with aceiling-mounted projector and allow teachers to download lessons andsoftware from the Internet so students can use them. The teachers will beable to monitor students¹ progress as they work on interactive lessons insome local classrooms and large-group instruction areas. Here is a school-by-school breakdown of the project: High School: Replacement of the more than 25-year-old main electricaldistribution panel; computer network hardware; relocating the district¹snetwork operations center from an outbuilding to the high school¹s firstfloor; installation of fiber backbone cable; computer network servers; andsmart boards. Middle School: Smart boards. North Street Elementary: Lockers in corridors; roof; air quality in SteppingStones area; replace eight unit ventilators; air conditioning in thelibrary; replace boilers; backflow preventor; upgrade emergency egresslighting; and smart boards. West Street Elementary: Rescue window; panic hardware; lockers in corridors;roof; ventilation of offices; air conditioning for data closets; replaceboilers; upgrade emergency egress lighting; and smart boards.

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