PORTVILLE — Tom Simon, superintendent of Portville Central School, reported to the school board Tuesday on the progress of the $13.8 million capital project, approved in May, that will replace or rehab almost all areas of the school.
The project includes:
• Heating and water upgrades, as well as upgrades for storage, security, technical systems and ADA-compliant bathrooms for the elementary building.;
• Upgrades to middle school science labs and renovation of home economics kitchen;
• Expansion of stage, addition of a second-level balcony and updated light and sound system in the auditorium;
• New tiling, gutters and ADA ramp and heightening of the shallow end in the pool.
The board is in the process of compiling information on those items that the state will eventually require, justifying the decisions the school has made regarding construction.
“My understanding of this is it’s just documentation,” Simon said. “It’s usually done further along in the process but we wanted to get ahead of it.”
According to the Office of Facilities Planning at the New York State Education Department, there are a number of criteria in “Deteriorated Building Elements” that need the justification.
• Auditorium seating installation and recovering. In his letter to the department, Simon explained that the seats were purchased and installed in 1952 and are no longer produced, leaving no option for replacement parts. With seats and aisles being overly narrow for the height and weight of today’s community members or disabled individuals.
The concrete into which the chairs are fastened has deteriorated, making reinstallation difficult.
• Proscenium curtains. While the original purchase date is unknown, the curtains were last certified in 1976. They are faded, bulky and most importantly, not sufficiently flame retardant.
• Cabinetry, chalk/tack board and locker installations; sun/light control devices and wall finishes other than paint. The elementary school has a number of issues, including delamination of casework; lack of personal storage space, necessary for health and safety concerns; chalk boards are outdated and new technology is much better; dropped ceilings will require new window installation; and the original 1956 bleachers function poorly and often cause pinched fingers.
• Pool lockers were also included in the justification, having been installed in 1973 and a health hazard due to the impossibility of cleaning them due to rust.
There is nothing planned for the holiday break this month, but Simon said that “hopefully during the spring break” construction could begin on some elements of the project.
IN OTHER NEWS from the school board, elementary principal Lynn Corder reported that that are 525 students in kindergarten through sixth grade this year. Last week, evening hours were offered for parent/teacher conferences on Monday in addition to the typical daytime hours Tuesday. He reported that 93% of students had at least one parent/guardian attending.
During the conference, teacher’s aides provided childcare and a group of sixth graders made 36 blankets, which were delivered to the Child Advocacy Center in Olean.
Corder reported nine students interned this semester and there are eight to 10 set for the spring semester.
The youngest of the students got a treat, and Corder said they were “very excited,” when the girl’s volleyball team came to visit the morning program before heading out to the state championship.
From the personnel committee, Tom Rowe reported the panel has been reviewing the personnel line items in the proposed budget.
There was also a discussion about the need for certified technology teachers after a recommendation that a Pennsylvania-certified tech teacher be hired. Rowe explained that due to such a lack of tech educators — where there’s a need for 50, there may be only a handful available that meet all criteria — compromises sometimes need to be made in some areas in order to hire someone qualified.