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Board to cull recommendations for Frontier school improvements

Frontier School District voters can expect to have their say on a capital project in May.

But for now, how much the district wants to spend or what it wants to build remains unclear.

The School Board got its first look Tuesday at a state-required building condition survey conducted by its architect, Young & Wright of Buffalo.

Michael Comerford, board president, asked members to examine the improvements recommended in the building survey to set priorities for what will be done.

The evaluation will form the foundation for a capital project plan that must be finalized by late March if it is to go before voters in May.

"These priorities are a starting point. They are a draft," said Shawn P. Wright, a partner in the architectural firm.

Cost estimates range from $2 million to $53 million, depending on what it proposed.

Comerford said the board will have to decide whether to "put the whole enchilada up" for a vote or select specific items for a pared wish list, of sorts.

"I think it shouldn't be how much do we want to spend, but what does the district need in terms of health, safety and bricks and mortar," he said.

The 60-year-old high school needs the most work -- as much as $19.11 million in improvements and upgrades, according to the survey.

These include expanding and renovating the library into a full media center, renovating the science and art wings, as well as the original home and career department.

Auditorium improvements, a reconfigured main entrance to unify offices and electrical and security upgrades also were recommended.

Officials said they are aware of a time crunch in getting a proposal together and putting it up for a vote. The district fears its level of state aid could be diminished if voters do not approve a project approved by July 1. The state currently reimburses 84 percent of the district's building costs.

Upgrades and improvements are recommended not only at the high school, but also at the middle school and all four elementary schools, as well as the Frontier Educational Center, Frontier Community Learning Center and the district's bus garage.

The wish list includes everything from roofing and new windows to air conditioning and parking improvements.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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