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School building project may start in April

WATKINS GLEN—Expansion of the Watkins Glen school on 12th Street is expected to start in April of 2013 as long as the New York State Education Department gives the final approval by early February.
The Watkins Glen Central School District board of education heard an update on the middle school consolidation project, which includes expanding the high school and elementary school buildings, Monday, Dec. 17. The objective is to move all students to the 12th Street campus by September of 2014. Superintendent Tom Phillips recapped the project, explaining the district examined closing the middle school as a way to save money as the student population has declined. The plan was ultimately approved by voters.
Representatives from Hunt Engineers and Welliver were present at the Dec. 17 workshop meeting. Keith Miller, Hunt representative, said the district can start the bidding process as soon as the state gives the final approval. He explained some of the district-wide parts of the project include milling and applying a new top coat to all of the parking lots, as well as repairing the sidewalks as needed.
Miller said roofs at both the high school and elementary need replacing. He added they will do asbestos abatement as needed, replacing older fluorescent lights, and increase camera coverage. Miller said more SMART Boards will be installed in rooms that do not have them.
Grounds work includes repairing and resurfacing the track and tennis courts. Miller added the shot put, long jump, and triple jump areas will get new covers. A new, permanent outfield fence will be installed at the softball field.
The board also heard about the biggest part of the expansion, which will add rooms onto the library side of the high school, facing 12th Street. This is where the district offices will be held as well. The cafeteria is also being expanded to handle the increased number of students.
One new room the presentation focused on was the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) classroom. Phillips explained the multi-use classroom fits under the state’s shift to “common core” standards in education. He added the district is implementing this type of classroom space before they are actually required to do so.
The next school board meeting is Monday, Jan. 7. It is anticipated to begin at 6:30 p.m., following an executive session.





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