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Plan targets auditorium, school library

A revised renovation plan for East Aurora's Main Street School calls for constructing an auditorium and relocating the library media center as part of a $9.3 million makeover.

The School Board this week learned the latest architectural recommendations for Main Street School, which will house third through fifth grades instead of its present third through eighth grades.

The highlight would be converting the library, which was an auditorium years ago, into a classical-styled auditorium once again with a 520-person seating capacity.

The library media center would be relocated to the third floor from the second, with an attached computer lab.

Also on tap is removing asphalt on two acres of green space behind the school. The two playgrounds would remain, but an outdoor teaching area and weather station could be established, Mach said. The parking area would have 60 spaces instead of the current 72.

The capital project totals $34.4 million for work slated on four buildings, including buying the former Southside School on Gleed Avenue and converting it into a new middle school.

The board plans to scrutinize the cost estimates, in tandem with projected tax impacts prepared for three cost scenarios, when it meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Board member Stephen Zagrobelny expressed concern that different aspects of the project that have been tweaked or shelved in the review process will ultimately get dropped, such as Southside's lacking a pool. Zagrobelny opposes using Southside as a middle school, instead preferring two smaller elementary schools at Southside and Parkdale, while keeping Main Street School as a middle school.

Board President Daniel Brunson cautioned that the total cost figures can be misleading until state aid is factored in and the district calculates how much in capital reserve money it would apply toward the project.

Parkdale's scaled-back addition would run $6.9 million, while Southside's combined renovation and purchase would cost about $15.7 million. Another $2.5 million in work is slated for the high school, as well as the $9.3 million for Main Street School.

Zagrobelny said the district has lost sight of the initial intent for the project, which he said was to relieve cramped conditions. "How can we have a showpiece middle school that doesn't have a pool?" he said. "I thought the project was about addressing the space crunch and traffic safety issues primarily at the lower grades."

The latest plans for Main Street School call for upgrades to the pool and renovating the 1964 addition on the east wing, as well as replacing kitchen and cafeteria equipment among other things.

A more formal entrance is planned for the North Grove Street side of the school, with a foyer and area for visitors, said Robin Mach, district architect.

"You're cramped for space, but once you reconfigure classrooms, you're using most of the building," Mach said. His plans do not include any work for the gym due to budget concerns.


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