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Dunkirk School Board updated on renovations to former School 6

DUNKIRK – Additions and alterations totaling $8.2 million to the former School 6 building – the future home of P-TECH Academy – were discussed Thursday during a special meeting of the School Board.

A vote on a bond resolution for the project will be held Oct. 6. About $1.2 million of the project cost will come through BOCES funding.

“We have to get the word out that this does not cost us a penny,” said Gary Cerne, superintendent of Dunkirk City Schools. “We are completely covered - it costs us nothing.”

The changes and design for the currently vacant building were presented in a slide show by by Ronald Kessler of Sandburg Kessler Architects.

If the project is approved, the school would be named Western New York College and Career Academy, with the projected debut by September 2017.

P-TECH Academy, a new program funded by the state Education Department and awarded to Dunkirk Schools, is designed to serve students in northern Chautauqua and Southern Erie counties.

The P-TECH program requires a six-year commitment from students, who end up with a college-level associate’s degree in a specialized field where job openings exist. Jamestown Community College is also cooperating in the program.

Component school districts within BOCES will identify students at risk of not graduating who might benefit from this hands-on approach. The students will join the program in ninth grade. Classes started at BOCES this fall. The associate’s degree will be provided at no cost to the student.

The three-story building on Benton and Nevins streets was built in 1915.

Plans include technology training rooms and a cafeteria. The original building, 21,600 square feet, will grow by 9,000 square feet. In addition to technology classrooms, there will be welding and warehousing areas to teach forklift and supply and shipping skills.