According to Rick Linden, assistant superintendent for business in the New Paltz school district, the capital-project work being done at all four New Paltz schools is coming along on schedule, or in some cases even a little ahead of schedule. The roof work at Duzine Elementary School is finished, and the roof work at the middle and high schools is on track for a scheduled completion date of September 30. Once school is in session, workers will move into a second-shift situation to complete the job.
At the middle school, the slate roof is being replaced with tile that simulates the appearance of slate. The masonry parapet above the roof will be repaired, as will a limestone cap. Once major building renovations are completed down the road, the spray foam roof will be replaced and the deck repaired in a second phase of roof work. At the high school, the leaking foam roof and skylights are being replaced.
The former school district office on the grounds of the middle school is being used as a temporary on-site office by the architects and construction managers associated with the Palombo Group, construction managers of the project. “Normally they would rent trailers for offices during construction,” said Linden. “The district would pay for that, and for a project of this length — three years — it would have cost us roughly $100,000. Instead of doing that, we knew we had this old building that wasn’t in the greatest shape, but it could be used instead of renting trailers.”
Adding a bathroom and making other minor changes, the construction crew fixed up the building just enough to be able for it to be used during the project. “What will happen to it after the project is complete is dependent upon several things,” Linden said. “In the final project that the voters approved in March, it does allow for us to take that building down. But the budget for it is zero.”
If there is enough money left over from the $52.9 million approved by New Paltz residents, the school board three years from now could authorize payment to demolish the former district office. If the funds aren’t there and/or the board should choose not to take it down, then the building would either remain as is or an alternate source of funding found to pay for removing it.
The smaller blue building next to the former district office was taken down just recently by the Palombo Group, primarily to facilitate the work on the middle-school parking lot. The only cost to the district was for fees to dispose of materials.
The capital project in New Paltz consisted of eleven smaller projects, plans for which were separately submitted to the state. The state several weeks ago allowed New Paltz to complete the balance of work at the Duzine and Lenape schools, and the district is awaiting approval to complete the balance of work at the high school. That’s expected within a week or two. Then the combined project will be out to bid.
It is expected that combining the work for three schools into one bidding opportunity will make the project more attractive to construction companies. If all goes well, the contract will be awarded in October and the work will start by the end of the year.
The addition of five new classrooms and the renovation of the guidance office are expected to be done first. Some of the work that doesn’t affect programs may be done during a second-shift during the school year, but electrical work and the like will probably not happen until next summer.
Due to the disruption that the work would cause to students, the bathrooms across from the cafeteria at Duzine Elementary will be built next summer, Making the connections to plumbing lines will require tearing up the hallway under which the lines are located. Items like installing new exterior doors can be done overnight during the school year, Linden said, without affecting day-to-day operations.
State approval of the middle-school work, the major project, is expected at some point in September. Construction will be so intensive that work will take place year-round, and some noise is to be expected, said Linden. Already some neighbors of the middle school have expressed concerns about the loud noise made by nighttime workers. “We’ll try to keep it to a minimum, especially in the early morning and at night,” said Linden, “but it is construction, and it’s not a totally silent operation.”