Fredonia school board hears capital project plans

Plans are forming in the Fredonia School District capital plans.

Fredonia Superintendent Paul DiFonzo introduced Clarke Patterson Lee Vice President Brian Trott at the board of education’s recent meeting. Trott has been working with the district’s capital project committee to form some plans for an EXCEL aided capital project. The district has not hired an engineer for the project and Trott has completed preliminary plans in good faith to the district.

Trott said his firm has experience with EXCEL capital projects. He explained EXCEL projects must be 75 percent technology, energy, accessibility, capacity/expansion and health/safety (TEACH). This leaves the remaining 25 percent for consultant, legal and printing fees as well as site work.

Trott explained site work is anything 6 feet outside the building such as sidewalk repairs, parking lot replacements or athletic field work.

He said he will work with the district to create a project that meets the district’s needs and has no local tax impact. He added the firm would also work with Siemens, who is conducting an energy project in the district, to make sure projects are not duplicated.

He said the district has two options for schedules on the project. Schedule A would put a vote for the project in September; however, this would mean work could not be started in the summer of 2014 because of the time needed for state education department approvals.

The other option, schedule B, would allow for summer 2014 work but the vote would be pushed up to June.

“The board may feel rushed,” Trott said of schedule B.

DiFonzo said although the state said the EXCEL aid will not expire, he expressed a worry it may be taken away if it is not used. Board Member David Giambrone asked which schedule DiFonzo preferred.

“I would like to see if the community is comfortable with the faster schedule. I prefer schedule B if the community is comfortable. If they prefer the slower schedule we will go with A,” he said.

DiFonzo said the big question now is what to do with the site work. Trott added the district can change the projects within the same scope after the referendum vote.

DiFonzo assured the board he will “check and double check” that the local share of the project is equal to the EXCEL aid; the rest will be funded by building aid.

At the meeting the board also decided to approve Nelson Masonry of Jamestown for the exterior work on the natatorium wall for $106,252. DiFonzo explained the district can use building aid to make this part of the project more affordable. The bids for the interior work in the natatorium were rejected. DiFonzo said this part of the work can be postponed and included in the capital project plans.

The board will meet April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in high school room 636.

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