Ken-Ton School Board gets look at capital project second-phase proposal - The Buffalo News

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Ken-Ton School Board gets look at capital project second-phase proposal

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board got its first detailed look Monday night at a proposed second phase of the district’s capital project.

The first proposition for voters to consider would focus mainly on health and safety issues, compliance with codes and the Americans With Disabilities Act, and shoring up the “building envelope” at the schools.

Lockers at Kenmore West High School would be replaced, among other improvements, including roofing and masonry restoration at the Hoover and Franklin complexes, said Thomas R. Caruso, vice president of Campus Construction, the Pittsford-based company hired in March 2009 to oversee the first phase.

Representatives of Campus, as well as the project architect from Gordon W. Jones Associates, detailed plans Monday for the School Board.

“When you have a big building like the Franklin complex, like the Hoover complex, it is millions and millions of dollars in masonry restoration, windows, doors and metal panels,” Caruso said. “So it adds up, unfortunately.”

That proposition’s $29.9 million cost would have no impact on property taxes and be paid for mainly with a mix of short- and long-term borrowing, said Assistant Superintendent for Finance Gerald J. Stuitje.

School Board President Bob Dana called it a “no-brainer.”

“It’s stuff that has to be done, and it’s not going to cost the residents anything,” he said.

Kenmore East High School would receive a gymnasium addition and additional parking, while a bus loop would be built at Lindbergh Elementary School, among other proposed upgrades.

A second proposition would improve the district’s arts and athletics facilities.

Auditoriums at the district’s two middle and two high schools would receive upgraded sound and lighting systems in some cases, and new seating in others.

“School is not just about having nice bricks and nice windows,” said board Vice President Stephen G. Brooks. “You’ve got to have something inside as well.”

Synthetic turf fields would be built in the Adams and Kenmore West athletic areas, while Crosby would have its natural turf regraded.

“Everybody’s going to benefit from this,” Dana said.

That proposition’s $19.5 million cost would be financed entirely by borrowing, Stuitje said.

The impact on property taxes for a $100,000 home in the district would be an increase of less than $1 a month, he said.

The first proposition would have to pass in order for the second proposition to pass as well, Stuitje noted.

The district is in the final year of a four-year, $58 million first phase that touched virtually every building.

Campus’ timeline for the second phase anticipates a referendum in early December, followed by a design stage and review by the state Education Department before construction could begin in summer 2016.

A committee found $170 million in buildings and grounds needs districtwide, but that number was pared down to $49 million based on priorities.

“It’s an appropriate size for what they need right now,” Caruso said.

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