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Norwood-Norfolk officials prioritize capital project list

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NORFOLK - Norwood-Norfolk Central School officials have identified 10 items that must be done as part of an upcoming capital project, 27 items that must also be done but are less of a priority, and 23 items that are of the lowest priority, but that they would like to include if possible in the $13.6 million plan.

Eight of the 10 items on the high priority list are to address code violations, while another is to make the district compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to Robert Brothers, the district’s facilities director.

One other item had been requested to be included in the project, he told board of education members this week. The subtotal for those 10 items would be $1.7 million, which does not include a 25 percent contingency allowance and 20 percent incidental cost allowance.

Among the code concerns are three stairways, Mr. Brother said. One of them is in the vicinity of the high school cafeteria and, the way the stairs are laid out, lead to a dead end in the event of an emergency.

A second set of stairs that need to be addressed is located on the second floor of the elementary wing, while a third set is near the maintenance shop. Mr. Brothers said those narrow to about 4 inches, which could cause issues in emergency situations.

“Any exit corridor can’t narrow,” Superintendent James M. Cruikshank said.

Code corrections also need to be made in a corridor near the high school cafeteria to address concerns about getting out of the building during an emergency. There are exits, he said, but they’re not code-compliant because they’re located next to each other.

“If anything happens, there’s no way out,” Mr. Brothers said.

“Exits in any large room can’t be next to each other,” Mr. Cruikshank said, noting the current exits are all at one end of the cafeteria.

Another portion of the project would replace high school gymnasium bleachers, which do not comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act because they’re not handicap accessible. There are also other code issues with the current bleachers, Mr. Brothers said.

The project would also place an addition on the bus maintenance and delivery area because Mr. Brothers said, in its current configuration drivers and inspectors cannot walk completely around the bus unless it’s outside the garage.

“There’s not enough room. We have no ability to work on the back of the bus without taking it out,” he said.

“The maintenance bay is a little narrower than where we have the buses. This would bring it out flush with the bus garage,” Mr. Cruikshank said.

Code issues necessitate upgrades to an elevator in the building, which Mr. Brothers said is old and doesn’t have electronic safety items installed.

District officials also want to address masonry repairs because of water damage, repair the non-code-compliant elementary boiler room air handling system and install CO2 sensors in large group areas to bring those up to code.

The sensors “are going to save tremendously on heat,” Mr. Brothers said, explaining that they will adjust as necessary for the number of individuals in a group area.

“If the capacity is 1,000 (people), but there aren’t 1,000, it’s still bringing in outside air for 1,000,” he said.

The 27 items on the second priority list would have a subtotal of $3.6 million, which does not include the 25 percent contingency allowance or 20 percent incidental cost allowance.

Some of items are obsolete and need to be replaced, others are for energy-efficiency savings and some have been specifically requested.

District officials want to replace a steam heating system, relocate a cooling tower, replace the elementary school boiler, replace the high school kitchen recovery air unit, replace the high school library rooftop unit, replace the high school and middle school roof exhaust fans, replace the elementary school unit ventilators and replace the high school auditorium and gym mechanical units.

They also want to replace the high school kitchen hood system, replace the high school ventilation system, upgrade the energy management system, replace the high school unit ventilators in the band room area, upgrade the elementary school music and band room ventilation, replace the bus garage exhaust fans and replace the bus exhauster in the mechanic bays.

“In general, with the mechanical system they’re all really old and need replacing. Most of those are needed. All of these will definitely save energy. You have choices as far as equipment,” Mr. Brothers said.

Board member George Fulk wondered if they could get an idea of how much they would save if the work was done.

“I think they can estimate it very closely,” Mr. Brothers said.

Electrical work is also on the second list of priorities. It includes lighting upgrades, an upgrade of the public address system, the replacement of panel boards and power upgrades to classrooms. Mr. Brothers said much of their current lighting is obsolete.

“They’re not making them anymore,” he said, noting they could get “tremendous savings” by installing LED lighting.

Also on the second priority list are upgrades in technology.

“Part of the phone system was upgraded in the last project. Now we’ll upgrade the rest and integrate it into the PA system,” Mr. Brothers said.

The second priority list also includes track resurfacing and soccer field renovations.

“The track really desperately needs to be resurfaced,” Mr. Brothers said, noting that failure to do that could lead to more expensive issues in the future. And, he said, since they plan to do the track, it makes sense to address their soccer field at the same time.

Many of the items on the third priority list are requests, while some items are obsolete. Three of them - relocating the fuel island canopy, improving the front site at the school and improving the fuel island and back parking lot - are labeled as life/safety issues. The list has a subtotal of $3.7 million.

Among the items on the list are upgrades to the auditorium audiovisual system, theatrical lighting, sound system, stage curtains and seating.

“There’s a lot of options out there for lighting and sound systems. It’s important to bring somebody in who deals specifically with lighting, who deals specifically with sound,” Mr. Brothers said.

Mr. Cruikshank said the capital project is eligible for 96.4 percent state aid. That means, for every dollar spent, the district will get more than 96 cents back.

“Our aim with the pending capital project is to have little to no impact on the taxes,” he said. “We haven’t had a capital project here in a few years. It’s needed. Certainly we want to keep our buildings maintained.”

He said, if bids don’t come in as planned, the items on the top two lists have to get done. If bids come in as budgeted, they can start looking at their third list of priorities.

He said they’re looking at having a capital project hearing the week after the May 20 budget vote and would also like to open their building to interested community members who want to tour the areas that will be addressed in the project. The capital project vote will be held June 4.

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