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Indian River board mulls over capital project

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PHILADELPHIA — Depending on state aid and next year’s enrollment, a capital construction project may be up for a referendum by Indian River Central.

The Board of Education mulled over the idea to add classrooms and improve the infrastructure of several buildings at Thursday’s meeting.

No decisions will be made until the buildings and grounds committee has met with the architect from March Associates Architecture and Planners, Utica, on Aug. 5 to figure out how much state aid the district can receive for the project.

“We need to table all this until we get some numbers back,” said board President Frank J. Laverghetta.

Potential improvements include:

■ Expanding Indian River Intermediate School’s cafeteria and adding 130 seats;

■ Adding a turf field;

■ Expanding the high school band room to accommodate 125 students;

■ Adding eight classrooms to Evans Mills Primary School;

■ Moving the rest of the high school and all of the middle school to geothermal energy;

■ Adding solar panels.

Board member Peter D. Shue said adding classrooms to Evans Mills would “tie two wings together, creating a better flow rather than a long, dead-end hallway.”

However, since the announcement that Fort Drum stands to lose 1,500 soldiers in the next four years, some members of the board were concerned that the classroom additions would be unnecessary.

“Without putting in any classrooms, you can’t do such things as turf or such things as band rooms,” said Business Manager James R. Koch.

Projects that affect student learning directly are what drives the aid, he said.

He noted that new housing on post will be available in September and phase five of Eagle Ridge Village’s town house development might be finished in April, bringing in families looking to settle in the area.

He stressed that basic maintenance will be done whether a capital project is agreed upon or not.

“You want to protect the infrastructure,” he said. “You really want to seal it from the elements.”

The board will discuss the capital project more at its next meeting on Aug. 8.

“Our little quandary here is how to proceed,” Mr. Shue said.

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