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Lancaster schools' upgrades to be ready for fall debut

Extensive renovations throughout the Lancaster Central School District have closed the building this summer, said Superintendent Michael J. Vallely.

The construction of a black box theater and art gallery, both expected to be complete by the opening of school in September is only a part of the improvements going on throughout district schools.

The black box rehearsal and performance venue will feature a 200-seat theater and soundproof band classroom, said Patrick Uhteg, president of the Lancaster Board of Education.

Work at the high school also includes the demolition and replacement of boiler room equipment, unit ventilators and upgraded heating equipment throughout school.

Also at the high school, the library and nurse's office will be revamped, as will the principal's office which will receive new paint and carpeting.

The pool space and field house will also receive some new features including new walls and floor at the field house.

Elsewhere in the district, library media centers at all elementary schools will be upgraded, said Uhteg. At John A. Sciole and Court Street, the libraries will be renovated.

Other improvements set for completion include revamped concessions stands and restrooms at the former transportation department on Pleasant View Drive. The fuels tanks will also be removed with operations moving to the new garage on Walden Avenue, said Uhteg.

In addition, construction of a new bus garage at 4082 Walden Ave. should be wrapping up by summer's end. Moving the buses to the garage from the high school will allow approximately 200 student parking spaces at the school. Garage construction was funded by a $57.3 million capital project.

The school upgrades are funded in part by a $77.1 capital improvement campaign approved by voters in May. The state will be returning 74.3 percent of the $77.1 million to the district in the form of building aid.

In addition, the district will use $5 million from its capital reserve fund, and a $500,000 donation from the Lancaster Educational and Alumni Foundation.

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