Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 13, 2013

District offering projects updates

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lockport City Schools will be providing a place online for the public to find updates on the district’s capital projects.

The district’s website, www.lockportschools.org, will feature a capital project tab on the site’s main page. Clicking on the tab will take a person to a list of the district’s current projects with their progress status. The list will be updated monthly, said Deborah Coder, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance and management services.

The idea is to keep the public informed about each of the projects going on within the district, officials said. Since the entire capital project process takes some time, residents may want to know what the status is on some of the more recent construction projects.

“Nothing happens quickly, so we would like to give you an update,” Coder said at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Currently, the district has four major projects in progress. The first is the $23.5 million high school capital improvement project, which voters approved back in 2008. That project included a number of upgrades to the high school, including a classroom addition, fitness center and extensive work on the auditorium.

The main work has been completed. But, because of lower than expected interest rates and bids, Lockport has about $400,000 left over. The money has to be spent, as per Albany, but can only be used for improvements to the high school. And the state education department still needs to sign off on it.

With the left over money, the district decided to replace the bleachers, floor and sound system in the high school’s west gymnasium. Handrails will be added to the upper level of seating in the auditorium as well. 

The additional work’s design phase is about done and will be submitted to SED for approval next month. Typically, it takes about five to six months for approval on a project, meaning bidding will take place in the winter or 2014. The work will start in March 2014 and be finished by September 2014.

The second project is called the 2011 infrastructure project and includes a number of fixups and upgrades needed in the district’s other schools. Voters approved the $18.9 million project in 2011.

Completed work includes the roofs at George Southard and Roy B. Kelley elementary schools. Renovations and an addition at Kelley are about 45 percent complete and are on schedule to be done in time for the start of school in September.

Work on Southard’s parking lot is expected to start next month and be done by Sept. 1. The last phase of the project, which involves upgrades and renovations at North Park, Emmet Belknap, Anna Merritt and Charles Upson, is to be submitted to SED in August for approval. That phase is expected to be done by December 2014.

The third project, referred to as the “2012 Capital Overlay Project,” is one voters didn’t have to approve as it was covered by $100,000 from the district’s general budget. Work included upgrading exterior and west gym lights at the high school and adding emergency power to the school’s freezer.

It also includes fixing the exterior of the pool wall, which is completed pending the arrival of a new pool scoreboard. It has been ordered and it’s on the way, Coder said.

The project is in the design phase and will be submitted to SED this month. Work is expected to start in March 2014 and be completed in September 2014.

The last project is the 2013 $22.2 million project approved by voters last month. The design phase has just begun, Coder said.

Trustee Thomas Fiegl, who chairs the board’s facilities committee, said a major focus of the 2013 project is security. It also involves technology upgrades, renovations and improvements made to the kitchens at the elementary schools.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.