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Progress on renovation of schools in Lockport will be updated online

LOCKPORT – Monthly briefings on the city schools’ ongoing capital improvement projects will now be available on the district’s website,

Voters have approved three major projects over the last five years that are in various stages of construction. Deborah A. Coder, superintendent for finance and management services, and Thomas W. Fiegl, chairman of the facilities committee, provided updates on the work at Wednesday’s meeting of the School Board that also served as a preview of what will be presented online each month.

The $23.5 million high school reconstruction project voters approved in 2008 is near completion. The main work, which included additions of a fitness center and classrooms and renovation of the auditorium, has been finished, but $400,000 remains, which the state mandates must be spent on improvements at the high school. The district will use the money to refinish the floor, install new bleachers, and enhance the sound system in the high school’s west gymnasium and add handrails to the upper level of the auditorium. The remaining items still need to be approved by the state Education Department. Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed in time for the 2014-15 school year.

An $18.9 million infrastructure project voters approved in 2011 has resulted in roof replacements at George Southard and Roy B. Kelley elementary schools, along with further renovations at Kelley and a new parking lot at Southard that are scheduled to be completed by the end of summer. The last phase of the project, which includes work at North Park, Emmet Belknap, Anna Merritt and Charles Upson, is being submitted for state approval in August and should be finished by the end of the year.

A $22.2 million project voters approved last month focusing on security and technology upgrades and renovation of the elementary school kitchens is in the beginning stages of the design phase. A $100,000 capital project funded by the district’s general budget has been submitted for state approval. The project, which did not require voter approval, will install energy-efficient lighting at the high school, emergency power in the high school’s walk-in freezer, and complete the reconstruction of the exterior pool wall at the high school.

The district also announced that an emergency training drill involving the city police and fire departments will be conducted at the high school during the morning of June 24. The drill will close the streets surrounding the high school. There will be a staging area and a triage area at the Kenan Center. Students will be out of session during the drill, but faculty and staff will be working.

“We did a similar drill maybe five years ago,” Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said. “With the events in December at Newtown, Conn., we have spent a lot of time reviewing our security plans and thought we should have another drill.”