Plans for an addition and renovations to New Paltz Middle School have been given the green light by New York State, and work is planned to start in May on what will be the largest phase of the $52.9 million Capital Project.
District administrators, Board of Education members, and representatives of the architectural and construction management firms working on the Capital Project provided an update on its progress to the community on January 26.
The project, approved by voters on March 24, 2015, consists of 11 projects across the District’s four schools. Five of those projects – replacement of a folding wall in the Lenape gym, replacement of the septic system at the Transportation Center, new roofs at Duzine and High School, and Phase 1 of roof replacement at the Middle School – have all been completed.
“Each one was on time and under budget,” said Luis Rodriguez, construction manager for the Palombo Group, the construction management firm overseeing the project.
Work on the six remaining portions of the Capital Project is either underway or expected to start either this year or next.
Superintendent Maria Rice noted that this coming summer will be “prime time” for a considerable amount of work to be done, which may limit the availability of some buildings to the public during the summer months.
High School Addition & Renovations
The District broke ground in December 2016 on a 7,000-square-foot addition at the High School and work is currently underway on the foundation of the new space.
Bill Wisbauer of Tetra Tech, chief architect for the Capital Project, said the design of the High School addition was based on “progressive thinking” by the District about how students learn and aimed at fostering collaboration. The new space will include five classrooms, three with folding walls that can be opened to create a larger space for collaborative work.
“It’s exciting,” said Rice. “Even the hallway can become a learning space.”
Rodriguez said that hardware and other materials continues to be selected so that once the addition is built, work on fitting it out can proceed as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
The addition is expected to be completed in mid-summer and ready for students to occupy by the start of school this fall.
Work on the High School Guidance Office will also start this summer. Three and a half classrooms will be used to create a new Guidance Office space, which will be located across from the cafeteria and is meant to draw students in and designed to “reach into the future as much as possible.” It is expected to be completed in early fall of 2017.
Duzine & Lenape Renovations
This summer, Duzine and Lenape are slated to receive their upgrades. At Duzine, the focus of work will include power upgrades, two new bathrooms, and exterior door replacement. Fire alarm and HVAC control upgrades at Lenape are planned. Additional storage space will also be added near the Lenape band room. Rodriguez said he anticipates this work will be completed by the end of summer.
Network Specialist Josh Volpert said the District is reviewing vendor proposals for the District-wide technology infrastructure upgrade.
“Our primary focus is taking this opportunity to build infrastructure that is expandable and upgradable,” Volpert said, adding that the District will be moving toward greater use of wireless devices that will work in any of its buildings once the new technology infrastructure is in place.
The upgrades for the High School are expected be completed this summer, with the other schools to follow.
Middle School Addition & Renovations
The 35,000-square-foot addition to the Middle School and renovations to the existing building are the largest and most complex portions of the Capital Project. State Education Department approval for this part of the project was just granted in late January. Based upon New York State Education Department review, the District also anticipates receiving an additional $1 million in State funding above what was originally projected for the Middle School.
Wisbauer said the three-level addition has also been designed as a creative space and will include new art and music classrooms, a new guidance space, a new library/media center with an area for large group instruction and community groups to use, new locker rooms on same level as gymnasium, and classrooms to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning.
The addition will be built first and renovations to the existing building will follow, with all work carefully planned to minimize disruption to the educational program. Rodriguez said he expects construction on the addition to begin in May of 2017 and be done by June of 2018. Completion of the entire Middle School project is expected in the summer of 2019.
Transportation Addition/Parking Lot
Plans for an addition to the Transportation Center on the High School campus, and renovation of the existing parking lot, are currently in the State approval process. As long as there are no unforeseen delays in approval, Rodriguez said he expects this work to begin in the summer of 2018.
Planning for the work to the Central Kitchen is being held until last. At some time in the future, after costs for other parts of the project are known, a decision about the best options for this part of the project will be made. Plans will then be developed and submitted to the State Education Department for their approval.
The entire Capital Project is slated to be complete by the summer of 2019, contingent upon timely approvals from the State Education Department.
For more information about the Capital Project and to stay up to date as work progresses, the community is invited to attend to Board of Education meetings on the first Wednesday of every month at 7 PM to hear monthly updates from Rodriguez and Wisbauer.