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Costs revised downward for two projects

East Aurora school officials are starting to slash the $52 million price tag for the capital project proposal that many believe is too expensive.

Board members seemed pleased Wednesday with architectural/cost revisions to improvements at the high school and Main Street Elementary School.

District architect Robin Mach presented scaled-back project plans during the board's meeting.

The latest high school version, costing $3.1 million, scraps an addition proposed for the north side of the school in favor of additions on the east side. The plan also calls for a smaller addition for science classrooms and a lab area, renovations to upgrade the technology area and adding a baseball diamond and two tennis courts. A maintenance storage building also is proposed.

Superintendent James Bodziak said that $3.1 million for the high school is "probably the bottom-line" cost, with no more wish-list items to be added.

Though board members were happier with the scaled-back plan, some warned that the district still will look to trim the overall costs of the project, which already is facing criticism for its original $52 million estimate.

"I think we'll be looking for more places to cut than add," board President Daniel Brunson said.

Additional space for the high school music program is highly unlikely in this project but could be considered in a future phase, district officials said.

"It's a little bit sad because our orchestra has really begun to grow and has nowhere to practice," said Lynn Hoffmann, assistant high school principal.

No revised figures were presented on the Parkdale Elementary School expansion, which is tied to the district's interest in acquiring nearly 40 acres of vacant land from Fisher-Price on the north and south sides of Girard Avenue. Third and fourth grades are to be shifted to Parkdale from Main Street School, while fifth through eighth grades will be in Main Street Middle School.

At the middle school, a proposed additional wing of classrooms is no longer in the plans. Nor is a new gymnasium. Instead, the original $6.5 million plan for that building was pared to $4.8 million, $1.4 million of which is eligible for state aid.

The revision calls for building a 700-seat auditorium near the cafeteria, instead of constructing a new gym. The existing gym would be upgraded, along with some gym stations. The school parking lot also would lose 20 spaces, which prompted board member Stephen Zagrobelny to suggest a two-tiered garage.

"An [auditorium] would be so beneficial for our whole community in the center of the village," board member Mary Gallagher said.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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