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Falls school referendum projects set ; Board finds work has no negative impact

Renovations or additions to 11 school buildings, with possibly some improvements to outbuildings, are on the School Board's "wish list" for the $130 million bond issue to be presented to voters in a Feb. 15 referendum.

The list also includes improvements to the school district's athletic fields and playgrounds.

A description of the proposed work was included in a procedural vote Wednesday evening, when the board declared that the work would have no negative effect on the environment.

The "negative declaration" is required under the state's Environmental Conservation Law.

The declaration says the work will not harm the quality of the air or water, impair the quality of the neighborhoods or create any hazard to human health.

"Renovations and additions to 11 school buildings, [including] potential minor improvements to the Administration Building, the Community Education Center and the Abate and LaSalle outbuildings" are on the list, according to the resolution.

"Related site improvements to accommodate each building are included. Recreational site improvements include upgraded playing fields (seven fields with synthetic turf surfaces) and playgrounds. All schools will receive interior renovations in accordance with state Education Department regulations," the resolution says.

Among specific projects on the list are:

*A 19,511-square-foot addition to 79th Street Elementary School at 551 79th St.

*A 2,048-square-foot addition to Cataract Elementary School, 6431 Girard Ave.

*A 17,974-square-foot addition to Hyde Park Elementary School, 1620 Hyde Park Blvd.

*A 14,256-square-foot addition to Kalfas Elementary School, 1800 Beech Ave.

*A 9,317-square-foot addition to G.J. Mann Elementary School, 1330 95th St.

*A 16,870-square-foot addition to Maple Elementary School, 952 Maple Ave.

*A 15,000-square-foot proposed outbuilding for storage or maintenance of equipment at the school district's Administration Building, 630 66th St.

*Four new soccer fields and a resurfaced eight-lane track with new infield at Niagara Falls High School, 4455 Porter Road.

*Replacement of the fields at Sal Maglie Stadium, Nicoletti Football Field and LaSalle Preparatory Field, all with synthetic turf surfaces.

School Superintendent Cynthia A. Bianco said the projects would not all be done at the same time, and some of them may be amended as the planning process moves along. A combination of state aid and existing funding would make the work possible with no increase in the local property tax levy, she said.

The project will require a 60 percent affirmative vote in the Feb. 15 referendum because the bond issue would push the school district over its normal debt limit.

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

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