Even the snow-covered ground is not interfering with the progress — or the New Paltz Board of Education’s enthusiasm — of the Capital Project. Bright orange stakes are carefully pinned into the cold ground, marking the corners of the five new classrooms, while heavy machinery lines the construction fencing, gassed up and ready to begin digging out the foundation of New Paltz High School’s new addition. The excavation work started last, Thursday, December 15.
Members of the Board of Education and several district administrators joined representatives from the district’s architectural firm, Tetra Tech, and construction management firm, the Palombo Group, to officially mark the occasion.
The breaking of the ground represents a major milestone in the $52.9 million Capital Project, which was approved by the New Paltz community on March 24, 2015. While significant infrastructure updates have already been completed (roofs at Duzine, the middle school, and the high school were all replaced this summer and replacement of the septic system at the transportation center and folding partition walls at Lenape are complete), this phase of the project marks the beginning of work that directly provides students with increased learning opportunities.
“This project has been a long time in the making and seeing construction begin on this wonderful new learning space is so exciting,” said Aimee Hemminger, school board president. “Students are at the heart of every decision the board makes and this addition will provide the kind of space our students need to learn, grow and thrive for years to come.”
The addition will address overcrowding and a lack of classroom space for course offerings at the high school. The additional 7,000 square feet will consist of five new classrooms, for a net gain of four learning spaces after other building upgrades are complete, including the relocation and expansion of guidance office space. The addition is anticipated to be completed this summer and other renovations at the high school are expected to be done by the winter of 2018.
Work at Duzine and Lenape is planned to begin this summer, and the bidding process is currently underway for district-wide technology upgrades. Architectural plans for renovating the middle school and providing a new central receiving area and district vehicle storage between the high school and transportation center are currently with the New York State Education Department for review.
According to Palombo Group’s construction manager, Luis Rodriguez, the project is progressing nicely. “Everything is moving ahead on time and favorable bids have been awarded, so we are also under budget,” he said.
The entire Capital Project is expected to be completed during the winter of 2018-2019, contingent upon timely approvals from the State Education Department. State Aid is covering approximately half of the cost. ++