Vote today for the Ellicottville school capital project | Olean

GREAT VALLEY – Residents of the Ellicottville Central School District will have the opportunity to vote today on a capital improvement project that aims to tackle many areas in and around school buildings in need of renovation and replacement.

The approximately $ 8.4 million project would see numerous health, safety, accessibility and code compliance measures addressed inside the main K-12 building, outside campus and in the garage. bus.

A positive vote from community residents would give the go-ahead to begin the formal planning process for such a project, with submission to the state Department of Education for approval by the end of 2020 and construction is expected. start in spring 2021.

The main reasons for the project come from a survey of the state of state buildings in 2015, explained Superintendent Bob Miller, who identified several areas where safety and security concerns were given top priority.

“Several items have reached a point where it is simply not practical or feasible or financially prudent to repair them. They met their life, ”he said Thursday during a public briefing on the project. “We need to address this in order to provide a safe learning environment, to ensure a productive learning environment and to protect the investment that taxpayers have already made in the school.”

Of the project’s $ 8.4 million bill, about $ 4,450,000, or 53%, will come from state construction assistance funding, with the remaining 47% – about $ 3,950,000 – ahead. be paid through local tax. On average, neighborhood homeowners could expect an estimated annual tax increase of about $ 17.76 per $ 100,000 of home value, Miller said.

“We will make the final payment for a previous capital improvement project in June and we will use these funds to offset the cost of the new capital project,” he added.

Highlights of the main building include replacement of the public address system, door hardware and exterior staircase upgrades at the main entrance, emergency generator replacement and fire alarm system upgrades, including including visual indicators.

“On a beautiful spring day, we could have 100 kids on the playground, and they need a way to know there’s something going on here,” Miller said. “Security can’t wait.”

For asset preservation and building integrity, the project would include partial roof replacement, masonry restoration, replacement of the main entrance terrazzo staircase, replacement of the elementary gymnasium floor and renovation of the kitchen and cafeteria.

“The high school kitchen and cafeteria have not been upgraded since this building, which dates back to the 1960s, was constructed,” Miller said.

Around the building, site improvements include replacing the secondary and elementary school parking lot, replacing the asphalt on the bus loop, covering the parking lot lighting and improving stormwater drainage.

“The elementary parking lot needs to be rebuilt, and when we do all of that, we really need to look at the drainage and get the right drainage and move it in the right direction away from the building,” Miller said. Last fall, flooding in the primary parking lot caused thousands of dollars in damage to the first floor of the primary wing, displacing several classrooms.

During Thursday’s community meeting, a few residents of the district commented on the cost of the project, expressing concern about using state aid to cover most of the project. “There’s no guarantee on that, and it’s 53% that really worries me,” one said.

Miller said those numbers are based on the best information they have at the time and recommendations from their financial planners.

Other concerns voiced Thursday included the replacement of a roof that had been repaired in 2005, the need for a new water well on campus and the need for a new, larger generator to power the main building.

“There is so much more demand on the system than ever before,” Miller said. “There are freezers, the doors are mounted on electrical relays… and new servers with so many computers and technologies. We don’t want the servers to go down.

If the vote on the capital project fails Tuesday, the main groups involved in the planning process – the school board, administrators, architects, etc.

Miller said critical issues still need to be addressed, except that without the benefit of state aid, the work required could be fully funded from the district’s annual budget, with local taxpayers bearing the full cost.

“When you combine multiple items into one project, it allows the district to spread those costs over multiple years rather than trying to meet large costs in one fiscal year,” Miller said.

The public vote on the capital project will take place today from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the foyer of the primary school.

(Contact Kellen Quigley, Editor-in-Chief of Salamanca Press at [email protected])

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