September 2, 2014 -- It was a busy summer at Glens Falls City Schools! Phase One renovations in the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) capital project wrapped up just last week.
Contractors and our own Glens Falls maintenance crews have completed:
Some of this summer’s work prepared buildings for technology infrastructure that will be installed next summer, including new wiring, routers and switchers that will improve internet connectivity.
June 27, 2014 — Renovation work has already begun at the High School and Jackson Heights elementary, as part of the 2012 science and technology capital project.
Phase one renovations include: asbestos removal and tile replacement, greenhouse demolition, science lab demolition work, library carpet replacement, and roof replacement at the High School; removal of carpet and asbestos tile, plus installation of new tile in all rooms at Jackson Heights; renovation of rest rooms at Jackson Heights and Big Cross; and removal of carpet and asbestos tile in one room in the basement of Big Cross.
School community residents should be aware that summer access to certain buildings will be limited in some cases. As of June 28, 2014:
For updates as the project moves forward, please see the district website at www.gfsd.org.
February 20, 2014 — The district is moving forward with demolition work for the High School science classrooms, and carpet and tile removal and replacement at Big Cross and Jackson Heights this summer, after getting the “go-ahead” from the State Education Department.
The renovation work is part of the $9.9 million science and technology capital project proposal that won voter approval in May of 2012. Work was scheduled to begin in the summer of 2013, but got delayed when required construction approvals were backlogged at SED for several months. Now, with approvals in place, the project is scheduled to go out to bid for contractors within the next several weeks.
The capital project was divided into two phases, with the first phase of renovations now being completed in the summer of 2014, and the second phase in the summer of 2015. Phase One work involves three school buildings (see sidebar). Phase Two work includes construction work in the high school science classrooms, library reconfigurations at each school building, technology infrastructure improvements, and renovation of technology closets at each building.
June 6, 2013 — Renovation work planned for this summer at several school buildings will likely have to wait until the summer of 2014, as required construction approvals are backlogged at the State Education Department.
The district’s architects report that SED’s current review timeframe is up to 24 weeks, causing many districts around the state to put their capital projects on hold. “We’re seeing multiple projects that are being broken apart or just not happening this summer,” says John Onderdonk of Mosaic Associates.
Glens Falls SUBMITTED plans for project approval in December, intending to begin work this summer on repairs within the $9.9 million capital project proposal that won voter approval last May. Still lacking full approvals by late spring, the district pulled out a few of the renovations and resubmitted a smaller set of repairs for approval in April.
The smaller plan only included asbestos removal and flooring replacement at Big Cross and Jackson elementaries, plus roof replacement and demolition work in the high school’s science labs, says facilities director Gene Figler. The district is still waiting on those approvals as well.
“We may get the approvals, but we can’t start any work this summer unless it will be completed before classes begin again in September,” says Mr. Figler. Once approvals are in place, the district still needs to solicit bids from contractors. “Our intent right now is to bid the high school’s demolition work and roof replacement this summer, and then see, depending on the contractor, whether we can get it done in late summer,” Mr. Figler says. “But that’s a moving target until we get the approvals.”
The district had intended to complete the capital project in two phases, with the first phase of renovations happening in the summer of 2013, and the second phase in the summer of 2014. Phase One work was to include carpet and tile removal and tile replacement at Big Cross and Jackson Heights, demolition work for the high school science classrooms, and roof replacement on one wing of the high school. Phase Two work was to include construction work in the high school science classrooms, library reconfigurations at each school building, technology infrastructure improvements, and renovation of technology closets at each building.
Glens Falls residents approved the project in May of 2012—along with the creation of a capital reserve fund, into which $2.5 million in savings was placed. These funds will cover the local share of the nearly $10-mililon project, with building aid from the state funding the rest. In May of 2013, voters APPROVED a $1 million expenditure from the capital reserve fund to allow the district to move forward with the first portion of the project.
February 27, 2013 — Architects working with the State Education Department say the district is on track with plans to renovate rest rooms, and replace carpeting and tile at Big Cross and Jackson Heights elementary schools this summer. Demolition work in science classrooms and roof replacement at the high school is also scheduled to begin in a few months.
The district is moving forward with $9.9 million-worth of renovations and repairs outlined in a capital project proposal that won voter approval last May. Residents approved the creation of a capital reserve fund, and the transfer of $2.5 million in undesignated fund balance into the reserve.
In March, the project will go out to bid for contractors—a
process that will involve
separate bid processes and awards for six different contractors in asbestos removal, roofing, general contracting, plumbing, heating, and electrical work.
This state mandate for different contractors within the same project is a
product of the Wick’s Law, which many education leaders and state politicians
have argued is an unnecessary cost-driver that could save schools millions if repealed.
The capital project was divided into two phases, with the first phase of renovations being completed in the summer of 2013, and the second phase in the summer of 2014. Phase One work includes carpet and tile removal and tile replacement at Big Cross and Jackson Heights, demolition work for the high school science classrooms, and roof replacement on one wing of the high school. Phase Two work includes construction work in the high school science classrooms, library reconfigurations at each school building, technology infrastructure improvements, and renovation of technology closets at each building.
Staff members, administrators and school community members have worked with Mosaic Architects since September to refine plans for the high school science classroom renovations and library reconfigurations. Review of the Phase Two drawings for science room construction and the technology improvements district-wide will take place by the end of April, before those plans are submitted for state approval.
Laura Moody has been retained as project manager, overseeing both phases of the capital project. “Her attention to detail is impeccable,” says director of facilities and transportation, Gene Figler. Ms. Moody was also project manager for the district’s previous capital project that built the auditorium and swimming pool.
May 15, 2012 — Glens Falls City School District residents approved the 2012-13 school budget on Tuesday by a margin of 881 "yes" votes to 294 “no” votes – a 75% approval rate. The $38.9 million spending plan keeps the tax levy flat and maintains the current educational program with no staffing cuts.
Voters also approved the creation of a capital reserve fund, and the transfer of $2.5 million in undesignated fund balance into the reserve. The district will now move forward with $9.9 million-worth of renovations and repairs outlined in a capital project proposal that also won voter approval Tuesday night. The capital reserve proposition passed by a vote of 847 to 319; the capital project passed by a vote of 822 to 342.
Kathleen Burton and Kevin Rosa were elected to the Board of Education, each to a five-year term that begins on July 1, 2012. Ms. Burton received 879 votes, and Mr. Rosa received 820 votes. READ MORE HERE
April 15, 2012 — The entire school community is invited into each of the district's five schools to learn more about what's included in the renovations and repair project on the ballot for May 15, and participate in a discussion about the capital reserve fund.
The project would spend no new taxpayer dollars, since undesignated funds the district already has would be placed into the capital reserve. Funding from the state pays for a large portion of the repairs.
Bring your neighbors and attend any of the following meetings:
The Glens Falls City Schools Board of Education voted March 22, 2012 to place a $9.9 million capital improvement project before district voters in a May 15 referendum. The project would include renovations at all five of the district’s schools, with an emphasis on technology upgrades district-wide and science lab reconstruction at the High School.
Funding for the project would come from state building aid and money from a capital reserve fund the board will also ask voters to establish on May 15.
As a result, there would be no impact on the local tax rate, since undesignated funds the district already has would be placed into the capital reserve. State aid would cover 75 percent— or about $7.5 million— of the total project cost. The remaining cost, about $2.5 million, would come from the capital reserve fund the district is also asking voters to approve.
The proposed project includes $5.2 million of district-wide technology improvements, including wireless infrastructure in each building, security cameras and door access control, new data wiring, and installation of an internet protocol telephone system. Each school’s library would also be updated into a “media center,” by reabsorbing the computer lab space into the overall library floor plan, and redeploying computer technology as portable laptops and/or tablets. The district’s current technology infrastructure—particularly its wiring—is eleven years and four generations behind industry standard.
Other proposed building repairs include:
Many of these repairs have been on the district’s facilities improvements list for some time, and a Board goal for 2011-12 has been to enhance its technology as a direct action item in support of the district’s mission (to foster “the ability to succeed in a changing world”).
At the district’s community budget forum on January 24, 2012 Superintendent Paul Jenkins introduced an outline for the capital project, including some of the key repairs and the public votes necessary to establish a capital reserve and expend money from it. (To view the January 24 presentation, go to the “2012-13 Budget Development” archives on the district’s web site.)
The district will also seek voter approval to establish a capital reserve fund—essentially a savings account with a specific purpose—to offset the cost of these projects. Creating a capital reserve fund would allow the Board of Education to take money from the district’s undesignated fund balance and place it into the capital reserve, thereby assigning it for this specific purpose.
“Creating the capital reserve fund is an important part of the district’s long-term strategy to get our fund balance within limits set by the state,” said Mr. Jenkins. Glens Falls City Schools has approximately $5 million in unassigned fund balance. The Board has discussed the need to allocate approximately $3.4 million to get within the limits set by the state.
Voter approval is required to establish and expend funds from a capital reserve. Money placed into the reserve must be earmarked for specific projects, and can only be spent on those projects for which it was intended.
State aid would cover 75 percent— or about $7.5 million— of the total project cost. The remaining cost, about $2.5 million, would come from the capital reserve fund the district is also asking voters to approve.
The project total of $9,991,000 includes design and contingency costs, such as asbestos testing and monitoring, construction management services, architect and legal fees.
“We are in a unique position to be able to accomplish these much-needed repairs and upgrades without asking our taxpayers for any new money,” said Mr. Jenkins.
“The district’s technology committee and the Board feel strongly that these repairs and upgrades are key to our educational mission and the safety of our students,” said Board President Dr. Anna Poulos.
Informational meetings will take place at each building to
discuss project specifics and answer questions from the school
community. Details on the capital project proposal will also
be available on the district’s website at www.gfsd.org.