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PLANS NEARLY COMPLETE FOR CASEY EXPANSION

Preliminary plans for a $15.7 million building project that would expand Williamsville's Casey Middle School are nearly finished, school officials said.

The planned expansion would create a home in the school for the district's administrative offices, currently occupying rented space on Lawrence Bell Drive that carries an annual price tag of more than $300,000.

The plans call for the addition of a two-story wing of classrooms to the Casey Road facility, and the renovation of an existing classroom wing for the suite of administrative offices, including a board room, community education office, and superintendent's office.

The central core of the building, which includes the auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria and pool, will not be affected by the expansion, but the school's library will be moved and expanded and a choral music room will be added.

The new classroom wing will include extra lockers and rooms designed for special education classes, as well as space and wiring capabilities for computer clusters.

Superintendent Ann B. Fuqua has said that a district vote on the building project will take place after July 1, 1998, when the amount of state aid available to the district for the project will go up 10 percent.

Richard A. Hitzges, assistant superintendent for finance, said that state aid on the project will amount to almost $9.6 million, leaving the district with about $6.1 million in local cost.

But residents won't bear an extra tax burden if the expansion is approved, Hitzges has said, because the district will keep the debt service budget at the 1996-97 level of $4.69 million until 2017, using the money collected after current debts are paid off to finance the Casey expansion with no additional cost to taxpayers.

Besides the suite of administrative offices and new classroom wing, the proposed expansion would convert the school's basement into areas for record and supply storage, and a central freezer would be installed to provide storage for volume food purchases, district officials said.

The School Board appointed Ciminelli-Cowper as the construction management team at a cost of 1.8 percent of the project plus reimbursable costs. Fees for the construction management team are fully state-aidable, officials said.

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