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The Alden School Board Thursday night appointed an interim principal for the middle school to fill in while Principal Francine Fritz recuperates from emergency surgery.

James Tauriello, who recently retired as director of pupil services with the City of Tonawanda school system, will serve for six to eight weeks, when Mrs. Fritz is expected to return.

With a new school year just beginning, Superintendent Donald W. Raw said the board had to make a fast decision on filling the post on an interim basis. He said the field was quickly narrowed to Tauriello, who has both extensive teaching and administrative experience.

The board also reviewed progress on the district's construction projects. Crews are wrapping up most work on the energy performance contracts, the sports complex and the safety project at Alden Primary School.

Nearly all the windows have been installed at the high school, with only minor outdoor work expected to continue once school begins, said officials. Final surfacing on the tennis courts is complete, and the track is scheduled for painting next week.

But officials said they're most relieved that a new parking plan and entrances at Alden Primary will be ready when school starts.

"I expect it to be a very different first day of school than the first September I was here," Raw said. "Standing out there then, I was more worried about somebody being run over than anything else."

On another matter, the board accepted $755 in donations in memory of deceased district secretary Joan Ludwig. A trust and agency fund also was established in her name for future contributions. The money will be used to help fund an artist-in-residence program and to purchase books for the elementary school.

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