New Paltz school construction proceeding well

The New Paltz Middle School is in the midst of a reconstruction project this summer. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The $52.9 million capital project ongoing in the New Paltz Central School District is progressing over the summer with a great deal of activity going on at the middle school. According to Richard Linden, assistant superintendent of business for the district, the work in the parking lot visible from the street all has to do with the redesign of the lot intended to solve the traffic congestion problems that have been an ongoing issue. Bottlenecks within the school at the student drop-off and pick-up area will be eliminated and traffic getting into and out of the lot will move much more efficiently.

Vehicles will be able to enter the lot from both South Manheim and Main Street with the latter reconfigured to allow vehicles to make a right turn into the parking lot. (The exit will remain a right-turn-only exit.) The access point from South Manheim will allow drivers to make either a left or right turn both entering the lot and exiting.


The large hole dug into the parking lot, currently visible to passersby, is for optimal drainage. A retention basin is used in the construction of parking lots to manage storm water runoff to prevent flooding and erosion damage to surrounding landscaping.  Removing water quickly from paved surfaces prevents water from reaching the subgrade, minimizing cracks due to weakened subgrade and prolonging the life of the pavement.

The parking lot is scheduled for completion by the end of August in order to be ready for the start of the school year in September. “So far, it’s on schedule,” says Linden, “although any time you have a construction project, you never know what is going to come up.”

And as dramatic as the visuals are for the front of the building, Linden says the project going on at the back of the school, out of sight to residents for the most part, is really the larger project: the 35,000-square-foot addition to the school.

The addition is expected to be completed by next June, but it won’t be used for its intended purposes until all the construction at the school is done. The rooms can’t be used as planned until then, says Linden, “because we may need those rooms to put the different grade levels in temporarily while the different wings of the school are worked on.” For example, the band room will ultimately be located in the new addition, but won’t be used as such until all the grades have had their spaces renovated and no longer need the new addition for temporary quarters.

There is a (relatively speaking) smaller addition going on this summer at the high school, adding five classrooms and approximately 7,000-square-feet to the campus. That project is scheduled for completion by the start of the school year. The addition will take care of the overcrowding that has existed and lack of classroom space for course offerings. The design of the addition will allow for collaborative learning and the space is adjustable according to how it needs to be utilized. The design also allows for a second story to be added in the future should that be necessary.

At Duzine Elementary School, the major work this summer is the addition of two new bathrooms across the hall from the cafeteria. That work is intended to be finished by September 1 in time for the first day of school.

All four of the district buildings are getting wiring put in for the new wireless network, a project expected to be completed at the high school by the start of school and at the elementary schools sometime this fall, Linden says. Wiring at the middle school will have to wait for the addition to be completed.

The work being done over the summer at Lenape Elementary School is primarily infrastructure work; plumbing and electrical, including an upgrade of the HVAC systems.

The capital project was divided into eleven smaller projects from the start to facilitate management and financing of the work. As of this week, five of those projects have been completely finished with three in the final stages. The entire capital project is on schedule for completion by fall of 2019.

More information is available on the district website at