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Officials deny rumors about fixes; Tonawanda school officials say capital project is on track

Officials in the Tonawanda City Schools spent time Tuesday night denying rumors that the district's $11.9 capital project was in danger of not being completed, as construction representatives gave an update about the project during a Board of Education meeting.

During his regular report, Superintendent Whitney Vantine cited the rumors that apparently were circulating in the community.

"People can believe what they want, but [the rumors] are garbage," he said. "The project is moving forward regardless of whether I'm in this seat or not. This community supported the project by a 3-1 [margin] because it affected kids across the grades. It wasn't just a football stadium."

However, one of the project's stated goals of replacing the roof of Mullen Elementary School has gone significantly over budget because of the unexpected damage contractors found when they took off the old roof.

According to project director Peter Buckley, of Pike Co., the old roof was installed poorly 60 years ago, which resulted in significant damage over the years. As a result, it is expected to cost about $170,000 more than initially estimated to replace the roof, the majority of which was completed last week.

"This did not come without substantial cost," Buckley said. "Significant portions of the roof deck were compromised."

There is some contingent money built into the capital project budget plan.

The contingent cost for the Mullen roof was about 5 percent, or $25,000 to $30,000.

The over budget amount of $170,000 surprised officials, but it also was reported that the Riverview Elementary roof, which is also due to be replaced, is in better shape.

That roof will be repaired along with the bulk of construction under the capital project next year.

The project also will see some updates to the Tonawanda High/Middle School building and a revised athletic campus that includes a new Clint Small Stadium.

"Yes, we had a bump in the road with Mullen, but this is still going ahead," said Board Member Sharon Stuart. "This is not dead in the water."