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Plans for the new $12.5 million Niagara Street Elementary School have been fine-tuned to make the facility more attractive and functional.

One change involves the location of the 650-seat theater-auditorium. Once planned for the far west end of the L-shaped building, it will now be jutting at an angle from the school's east wing, connected to the main building only by a glass-enclosed, two-story breezeway.

Designer Jorge R. Lucaces, who altered the design at the request of district officials and residents, presented the adjusted schematics to the School Board on Thursday night.

Another new aspect of the theater plan is an outdoor, 120-seat amphitheater. It will face the back end of the theater building, which contains the auditorium stage. This will allow stage events to be played to an outdoor audience since the back end of the building will have doors that can be rolled up, Lucaces said.

Inside, the stage will face three sections of seats and a balcony containing more seats in a traditional auditorium setting.

Outdoors, the open land will contain a running track that will circle the theater building. Other play areas will be on the school grounds as well as landscaped green areas, he said.

The design for the rest of the school remains.

The cafeteria, kitchen and gym facilities will be in the two-story section of the north wing adjacent to the administrative offices. An extended, one-story section at the far west end of the north wing will hold a 4,000-square-foot swimming pool facility.

Board members seemed pleased with the improved design and expect to approve it at next week's board meeting.

The schematics will be forwarded to the state Education Department the following day for review and approval for cost reimbursement from the state, Superintendent Carmen A. Granto said.


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