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Students, parents and members of the community are being asked to join faculty and staff in helping the Ellicottville Central School District Board of Education find a new principal.

High School Principal Mark Ward has resigned his post effective Feb. 25 to become the superintendent of the Salamanca City School District. His resignation was accepted by the School Board earlier this week.

At that time, the board selected George Pancio of Olean as interim high school principal. Pancio is a retired administrator and former Olean City School District assistant superintendent. He will begin work Feb. 9.

Superintendent Michael C. LaFever said Friday that May 1 was chosen by the board as the target date to have a new principal on board. The new principal will oversee both the secondary and elementary schools.

The elementary principal's administrative post was left open during the current school year and those duties have been handled by LaFever.

LaFever invited all interested community members to be available on the evening of March 8 to screen the credentials of potential candidates and all day March 18 to participate in interviews.

Participants may register by calling Melissa Sawicki, LaFever's secretary, at 699-2368.

This community group will meet as one of three committees assisting in the selection process. Faculty members and support staff will make up the other two committees participating in the principal's selection.

Beginning this weekend the position will be advertised in local newspapers.

Also this week, the board agreed to limit costs of a proposed capital improvement project at $5 million to $7 million and remain focused on academic programs.

"We decided not to touch the (elementary wing) built in 1988," LaFever said. "We just made a commitment for what that facility should look like 12 years ago. We aren't going to go ripping into something the taxpayers just paid for 12 years ago, with the only exception being a new floor for elementary gym, which is in need of repair."

He said he met Thursday with representatives of Harrington/Sandberg, the architectural consultants, to convey the board's wishes.

The firm is now working on preliminary plans for remodeling the older portions of the school and creating nine new classrooms.

In the remodeling portion of the project, the board agreed to include three new science labs, a new high school library-media center, expanded gym lockers, a weight room, new public restrooms, a new high school art room and a home and careers room.

A bus garage addition and upgraded electrical, telephone and security systems also will be part of the plans.

LaFever said faculty members reviewed the suggested design Friday morning and reacted favorably.

District voters will be invited to make suggestions on a tentative plan at community forums that will be held between late February and early March.

A vote would have to be held in May, at least 45 days prior to June 30, which is the eligibility cutoff date for state building aid of about 75.1 percent.

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