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Work on Potsdam capital project to continue into school year

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POTSDAM — Potsdam Central School Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said work on the district’s capital project will continue into the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Clerk of the Works Robert Williams said progress on the project is being made each day.

“The playground will be done by the start of school, except for some site work,” Mr. Williams said. “The weather has not cooperated.”

Mr. Williams said three days of “torrential downpour” last week really slowed down progress.

“The playground site looked like a monsoon hit,” he said.

Replacing lighting fixtures across the district also will continue into the school year, with the hardware expected to arrive in mid-September. Work on the auditorium will continue through September, with the installation of a new heating system in the high school also beginning soon.

Board of Education member Frederick C. Stone Jr. asked when the district is required to have heat available.

Mr. Williams replied Oct. 15.

“We are looking at that right now,” he said, adding that if needed, temporary heating units will be installed to ensure each classroom in the building has heat.

The painting of classrooms also remains ongoing, although Mr. Williams said painting ceased Wednesday, with rooms that still need work to be completed at a later time.

Building and Grounds Superintendent Robert A. Brothers said his employees worked closely with the painters to get the district’s teachers access to their classrooms as soon as possible.

“We are going right behind the painters,” he said. “As soon as the room is painted, we are putting the furniture back.”

Noting that school is scheduled to start this week, board member Danielle L. Gray said she felt keeping teachers out of their classrooms until Thursday was a little too close for comfort.

“Thursday is cutting it very close,” she said.

Mr. Brady said the district’s teachers have been very understanding.

“Our staff understands the challenges of a capital project. We’ve had capital projects in the past that continue into the school year, and we try to do our best to keep distractions away from the classroom.”

That being said, Mr. Brady noted there will be instances when some classes may be displaced temporarily.

“We know when we start work on the heating system in the high school we will have to displace classrooms and there will be some inconvenience, but we’re aiming to keep that to a minimum,” he said. “We know once the project is complete we will have a more comfortable learning environment with greater energy efficiency.”

Mr. Brady said some work, such as renovations to the auditorium, will take place during the school day, but other portions of the project, such as replacing lighting fixtures, will be done during the evening hours.

“It depends on what the scope of the work is whether they’ll work when students are here,” he said, adding there will be two shifts working on the project, one during the school day and a second during the evening, once school is back in session.

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