Referendum vote set for Fredonia EXCEL project’s first phase

Phase I of Fredonia Central School’s $3.35 million EXCEL Capital Project officially has a referendum vote set for Dec. 17 from 2 to 9 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

During its meeting on Tuesday, the board of education unanimously approved a resolution calling for a special district meeting and vote on the proposed capital project.

“It’ll be advertised in the OBSERVER four times. We’ll also provide, obviously, information to be sent home to the community (and) … we will hold a community meeting probably a week or two before the actual vote if anyone has any questions or concerns that come forward. Obviously, our door is open, our phone lines open, our emails open, if anyone has any concerns or questions, please let us know. It’s a fairly straightforward project … and we feel this will benefit the students of our district,” Superintendent Paul DiFonzo said.

Board President Michael Bobseine pointed out that there will be no impact on the local tax levy as a result of the project since all of its components should be reimbursable by the state.

As part of the project’s interior work, Director of Instruction Joseph Reyda said the Capital Project Committee recommended the following scope of work at the Main Street campus: re-sealing the moisture barrier at the interior pool wall; replacing network closets throughout the district, which Reyda said would result in the ability to process more data in a shorter amount of time and create a wireless network; replacing the high school built-up roof and insulation; and correcting the mechanics and codes of the high school lobby elevator.

Other recommended projects include: replacing hardware on doors in the auditorium, gymnasium and cafeteria; replacing the ventilation system in the presentation room; replacing clocks throughout the district so that all of them tell the same time; and installing a wireless microphone system for the stage and communication use in the auditorium.

If additional EXCEL funds are available after all these projects are done, several other activities may be pursued as part of a list of alternates. This includes the replacement of vinyl composite tiling and carpet flooring in select rooms and the replacement of the old public address and telephone systems.

As part of exterior site work for the project, the worn and patchy running track will be rebuilt at its current location and the interior field there will be fixed up.

Before approving the vote date, the board passed a required State Environmental Quality Review Act resolution that proclaimed the capital project will not result in any significant adverse impact on the environment.

“Because this project is happening on our existing Main Street campus and we’ve done projects (there) before, it’s already been studied,” DiFonzo said.

Once Phase I of the capital project is completed, Phase II will focus on the Fredonia Sports Complex Initiative’s proposal to build a new sports complex at the school.

During a previous meeting, the FSCI had cited major safety and convenience concerns with the current football field, the Orange Bowl, as well as the soccer field, and had pledged to the board they would raise the necessary funds to cover the local share of the project (around $600,000), but only if the board committed to at least doing something in terms of fixing up the fields.

“I’m going to be meeting with (the FSCI),” DiFonzo said. “The board expressed an interest in supporting the upgrade of the outdoor athletic fields and (FSCI representative John) Gullo and I are going to work on putting a resolution together for the board’s consideration showing that support. That should be coming up in November.”

Phase II will entail building a brand new, combined soccer/football field behind the tennis courts with additional parking, bleachers, a concession stand and lighting. The existing varsity softball field would most likely be relocated to the current practice field, which will be upgraded.

Phase II will cost about $2.25 million with a natural grass field, according to architects at a previous meeting.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.

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