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January 19, 2011

 

McGraw to improve bus traffic, drainage

About $2.5 million left over from previous project will pay for work at elementary, high schools

TrafficJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Students head to their school buses on the west side of McGraw High School after school Tuesday. A new capital project would reconfigure the bus pickup and drop-off points at the high school using East Avenue, the other side of the building from the current bus pickup and drop-off area off West Avenue.

By SCOTT CONROE
Staff Reporter
sconroe@cortlandstandard.net

McGRAW — Part two of the school district’s capital project will involve replacing plumbing, drainage around athletic fields, a gymnasium floor and the areas where buses pick up and drop off high school students.
The district has about $2.5 million left from the $6.6 million approved by taxpayers in 2008, after replacing heat systems, roofs, locker room walls, sidewalks, gymnasium lighting, the high school cafeteria tables and serving area and hall lockers last summer.
Superintendent of Schools Mary Curcio presented the plans Tuesday in a public forum at McGraw High School auditorium, attended by five members of the public plus Board of Education members and district staff.
Curcio and Jeff Payne, director of buildings and grounds, offered a look at the project along with project manager Tim Brown of Greenwood Corp.
The plans were sent to the state Education Department in December and approval is pending.
The bidding process hopefully would begin in March, Brown said.
The project uses EXCEL state aid, which stands for Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning.
It was aid set aside for school district capital projects a few years ago, replacing what taxpayers would pay.
Curcio said some interior work from last summer’s first part of the project will need to be redone because she and district staff are not satisfied with the workmanship.
She said the district has withheld $116,000 in payments until the work is done better.
She did not name the contractor. The general contractor is Streeter Associates of Elmira.
Payne said the district has no choice but to accept the lowest bidder on projects.
Trying to disqualify a low bidder can lead to legal challenges that delay a project through the construction season, Brown said.
Curcio said the contractors for next summer will be monitored more by Greenwood Corp.
The new system for buses to pick up and drop off students at McGraw High School will use East Avenue, the other side of the building from the current bus pickup and drop-off area off West Avenue.
Buses will use a new parking loop off East Avenue that will replace the current parking area, extending 300 feet or about one-third longer than the current area.
The sidewalk along the street will be extended alongside it.
Parents picking up or dropping off students will still do so on the West Avenue side of the building, where the faculty, employee and student parking lot is.
Students who walk from school will be asked to wait until the buses are gone.
High school students will be picked up first by buses at the end of the day, then the drivers will go to the elementary school for those students — the opposite of the current arrangement.
Students will use doors on the east side of the building’s central foyer in this plan.
Those doors are not used much now, as students enter and exit through one door on the west side.
The traffic routes around the elementary school will be revised, but for now, Curcio said stop and yield signs will be installed where traffic comes together from three directions before exiting the school grounds.
Curcio said she has been concerned about pedestrian safety and traffic congestion around both schools since starting her job last fall.
“I have seen students almost get hit, again and again,” she said.
At the high school, the project would add exterior lights on the auditorium and replace poor drainage systems next to the athletic field.
The elementary school phase will replace drainage systems next to the playground and athletic fields, the gymnasium floor, the stage’s front, drinking fountains dating to 1966 and sinks and counters in the faculty bathrooms.
Two boilers that are 17 years old will be replaced with energy efficient boilers like the ones installed at the high school.

 

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