Standing water on the roof of Nightengale Elementary School is one of the roof issues that will be addressed in a proposed $49.6 million capital project in the Massena Central School District. Photo courtesy of Massena Central School District

MASSENA — The Massena Central School District’s architectural firm will be presenting the draft scope of a proposed $49.6 million capital project during Thursday’s Board of Education meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in room 314 of the high school.

Under the draft scope prepared by the IBI Group, the high school would receive $14.4 million in improvements, and the junior high would be slated for $8.7 million in improvements. Construction costs at the three elementary schools would include $8.6 million at Nightengale, $8.5 million at Madison and $8 million at Jefferson. The Central Administration Building would be slated for $617,000 in work, and $848,000 in work would be done at the Shared Transportation Facility.

Among the priorities at all of the schools are interior renovations including ceilings, LED lighting and door security, as well as life safety systems replacements including security, fire alarm and public address. The full list will be shared during the board of education meeting.

“When we started the process, we set up focus groups in each building. We developed a long list of different needs, both physical plant as well as programming needs that were requested by various administrators, faculty and staff. The staff prioritized them into ones, twos and threes, one being the most critical,” Superintendent Patrick Brady said.

The items on the proposed scope were regarded as priority one and, if money remains after those are addressed, they can look into addressing priority two items, he said.

“The district has not engaged in a capital project in 10 years, so there are some definite issues that are basic to infrastructure like heating, ventilation, plumbing, security, parking lots, playgrounds and sidewalks,” he said.

If the board accepts the proposals, they would vote in October for bonding and a State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) declaration. They would hold the public referendum from noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Massena Community Center.

“In the meantime, we will start an educational campaign to go out to the public and provide information on the need for the project. That work will be done throughout the fall until the public vote, which will occur on Dec. 12,” Mr. Brady said.

Those sessions will be held as part of the district’s Facilities Committee meetings, at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 in room 314 of the high school, and 5 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Nightengale Elementary School library. Following the Oct. 7 project presentation, a tour will take place at the high school and junior high. A tour of Nightengale Elementary will also take place following the Nov. 4 project presentation. Mr. Brady said work at Nightengale is similar to the work that will also take place at Madison and Jefferson elementary schools.

“We’re encouraging the community to attend. It will provide an opportunity to educate the public and an opportunity for questions and input. If there appears to be a need to have more open community meetings, we will. It will be on the agenda at all of our board of education meetings as well. The public is invited and encouraged to attend those meetings to provide input. We’ll also be sending out some newsletters and doing some presentations to some of the community groups,” he said.

Mr. Brady said, because of a $6 million reserve the school board has allocated for the project, there would be no tax impact on residents.

During Thursday’s meeting, the district will also hold a public hearing on its safety plan. Because of new regulations, school districts were required to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a law enforcement agency and include that memorandum in their safety plan. The district had entered in an agreement with the village of Massena for a new school resource officer, Jody Daggett, who started this year.

“We added that into our district safety plan. We also added the job description of the school resource officer. Now we’re required with those changes to have a public hearing on the district safety plan. We’re required to have a 30-day public comment period,” and the board can then adopt the plan, Mr. Brady said.

He said the state Education Department created a checklist for district and building safety plans, and the District Safety Committee has focused on ensuring their plans followed the checklist.

“Our safety team does a really great job with developing plans and procedures,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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