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Architects ready to take Salmon River capital project to state ed department


FORT COVINGTON –– Plans for the upgrades at the Salmon River Central School buildings should be ready for state Department of Education review by July 1, according to representatives from the district’s architectural firm told the district’s Board of Education.

“We are kind of doing everything we can to get the plans to SED (the state Education Department) to try and get the clock started, because everything plays off the SED’s review phase,” Chris Crolius of March Associates told board members.

“We have been moving in that direction and have made a tremendous amount of progress over the last seven months,” said Michael Leahy, also of March Associates.

The district’s capital project was approved by SRCS voters in October of last year. It includes renovations and improvements to boilers, the water system, plumbing, roofs, ventilation, electrical, exterior, classrooms throughout all three school buildings, the high school gymnasium, auditorium and the bus garage; asbestos abatement and field work.

The most needed upgrades to the buildings are the approximately 147,000 square feet of leaking and deteriorating roof and ventilation systems that haven’t been upgraded since the 1950s and ‘60s.

March Associates has been meeting with the teachers and staff to figure out how to make the renovations fit their needs as well as those of the students. The bulk of the reconfigured space will be in the elementary school. Mr. Leahy said that during the school breaks he was able to come up to do measurements, field work and meet with the kindergarten teachers.

“We looked at how a typical room would lay out based on the feedback from them and how things are set up in their current rooms. and they are all on board with this layout,” Mr. Leahy said.

He said planners were able to maintain the number of desks the kindergarten teachers liked with round tables. They were able to incorporate the computer clusters and developed cubbies and storage cabinets to meet the teachers’ needs. Mr. Leahy said they were able to get the equipment on the teaching wall that the kindergarten teachers were after. He said they were very pleased when that came together.

Each room is going to have its own heat pump and it is going to use the geothermal well field as the source of heating and cooling. There will be an individual control system in each room for the heating and air conditioning.

“I believe on the previous project they were installed up in the ceiling; on this project we are going to store them in small closets within the classroom,” Mr. Leahy said. “We feel that is going to give us better acoustic separation because we are going to build a wall around them. It is also going to make it easier to service the unit. If something goes wrong with it or you need to change the filter, you simply open the door.”

March Associates also met with the fourth- and fifth-grade teachers and came up with a room layout that they all seemed to like, according to Mr. Leahy. Both the fourth- and fifth-grade teachers favored the same layout and their rooms will look pretty much identical.

In the middle school, Mr. Leahy said they met with Middle School Principal Tammy Russell to talk about the science labs as well as the STEM program. “We are going to be moving one of the science labs from the first floor up to the second floor, which will allow Mr. Russell to keep the eighth grade on the first floor for their primary classes and sixth and seventh grade on the second floor,” he said.

In the high school, the gym and the auditorium are two of the main areas that are going to be worked on, according to Mr. Leahy.

He said they had a series of meetings with the staff involved with the auditorium and the March Associates theater consultant.

“Their requests were very reasonable, and we think we can meet them with no problem,” Mr. Leahy said.

March Associates is also working with the physical education staff, and that plan is developing as well, he said.

“Over the course of the summer we will refine these plans even more. We anticipate coming back at the end of September and having a series of meetings with the teachers and say this is where we are and here is how we interpreted what you said...and make sure everyone is OK with it before we go to bid. That is our goal,” Mr. Crolius said.

He said that they have the major elements of the project nailed down. and he said he feels confident taking the project to the state Education Department.

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