ALLEGANY — One Allegany-Limestone Elementary School teacher spoke of a classroom that is stifling hot during some months of the year, while another said the sink in her room has no warm water.
There were a number of other concerns and suggestions made by teachers during an after-school meeting Tuesday to review a proposed $10 million upgrade at the Maple Avenue school and nearby bus garage. A similar meeting was to be held for the public during the evening hours.
The project, if approved by voters Feb. 11, is not expected to increase taxes as funding will be provided through state aid and the district’s capital reserve fund. The proposed project would come on the heels of the current $17.3 million capital improvement project that is providing upgrades and expansions at the middle/high school campus, and to a lesser degree at the elementary school. The majority of that work, which is also funded through state building aid funds and district capital reserve funds, is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020.
“I think this school has been neglected … we want to change the atmosphere a little bit,” Superintendent Tony Giannicchi told the teachers. “We have some great classrooms, but I think what needs to be done is the atmosphere and the physical piece of it needs more. The kids should show up each day and have a really nice place to work.”
The particulars of the proposed project were explained to the educators by Ryne Wight, an associate with Clark Patterson Lee architect and engineering firm. He said if approved, the firm would do the project design from February through July, with bids taken in the spring of 2021. The work would likely take two summers to complete, beginning in the summer of 2021.
Proposed improvements are expected to include renovations to the multipurpose room and the gymnasium, including new audio/visual and public address systems, a new seating system in the multipurpose room and a new drop curtain and rock wall in the gymnasium. Wight said air conditioning is expected to be added to the multipurpose room this spring or summer as part of the current capital project.
Other work in the school will include locker room/gymnasium office area improvements; and a new STEAM makerspace area for innovative projects by students. Kitchen renovations are anticipated to include a new stove and serving line and HVAC upgrades; and restroom improvements.
The upgrades also will include library carpet replacement and painting; new LED lighting in the building; corridor finishes and display cabinets; classroom flooring; and HVAC improvements, such as boiler room upgrades that include new boilers, valves, electrical, gas piping and venting. Other work will include improvements for the heating and cooling of classrooms; kitchen ventilation and cooling upgrades; and heating upgrades at the nurse’s office. Upgrades are also anticipated to include plumbing and electrical upgrades to support renovations; and possible roof upgrades.
Following the short presentation by Wight, teachers weighed in with questions and suggestions. In addition to the request for warm water in a classroom sink, another teacher asked if it would be possible to have a sink put in the faculty room as there is no place to clean dishes or wash hands. A teacher also noted that her classroom had been so hot during certain times of the year that a parent offered to buy an air conditioner for the space.
“One thing I thought about is on the corners (of the hallways) we need mirrors so you could see around the corners, so that when people are walking they don’t bump into each other,” suggested another teacher.
Also asked of the officials was if the upgrade would include child-friendly furniture, as 3- and 4-year-olds have difficulty climbing into their seats in the cafeteria.
“That’s something maybe we can discuss as there may be another option to address that,” Wight responded.
Additional comments included requests for sensory walls for children, a small kitchen to serve as a classroom for youngsters and a couple of additional parking spaces in the parking lot.
All of the suggestions were noted by Wight.
District residents will be asked to vote on the proposed project from noon to 9 p.m. Feb. 11, in the lobby of the district office at the middle/high school building on Five Mile Road.
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)