Weekly Feature

2018-08-09 / Front Page

District unveils $12.2 million safety and security capital project


Continuing to strengthen a district priority, the Orchard Park School District is launching a $12.2 million capital project focused on safety and security in school buildings.

The project was discussed for the first time during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

Jeffrey Petrus, the district’s assistant superintendent of business, said the district’s Facilities Committee has been working for the last several years on developing a long-range plan for the next few capital projects for the district.

The focus of the plan will prioritize and address almost $50 million in building condition survey items, examine administrative facilities needs to enhance student programs and building functions, and keep the long-term-debt tax impact of the district stable during the next 10 years.

The first project, which will be worked on with Gordon W. Jones Associates architects and Turner Construction, would improve security at the main entrance of all school buildings, as well as secondary entrances at the high school and middle school.

This includes adding a security office and secure vestibule for questioning visitors before they are able to gain access to a given building.

“We’re going to be hardening the entrances for greater security,” Petrus said.

Mike Noga, a senior project manager for Gordon W. Jones Associates, said that instead of allowing visitors to go to the security desk and then go right or left, they would be held within the vestibule where the security personnel could identify a threat.

“People are contained in this larger lobby and held so they cannot freely go through the rest of the building,” Noga said.

To create the security office and vestibule at each school building, Noga said some entrances will be reconfigured, and he added that there is a plan to put some of the main offices closer to the main entrances.

“By moving it closer to the entrance, you have the ability to understand what’s happening right out in front of your door,” Noga said.

The project also includes the replacement of roofs at Windom Elementary and Orchard Park Middle School. Rooftop units on those roofs will also be replaced. Petrus said the two buildings have had the most issues with roofs during the past few years, including leaks.

“All of the roofs being done in this project are all out of warranty, so it makes sense that we take care of them now,” Petrus said.

Windom and the middle school will also have exterior masonry restored. The issues mainly have to do with bricks.

The project will also see Americans with Disabilities Act building ramping at South Davis Elementary, while also reconstructing the nurse’s office and main office. There will also be ADA modifications and a main office reconstruction at Windom.

The next step for the Board of Education would be approving the scope of work at its next meeting on Aug. 20. The project would eventually become a public referendum on a bond issue for the November election. Due to how long the state review process is for capital projects, work would be estimated to begin in the spring or summer of 2020.

For future years, the continuation of the plan would see a fall 2020 vote on an estimated $13 million project and a fall 2022 vote on an estimated $27 million project. All capital projects would have little impact on property taxes. They will be paid for through paying off existing debt and using capital reserve funds, Petrus said.

The full presentation on the project and its timeline are available on the district’s website, www.op schools.org.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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