Ripley Central School moves toward $2 million construction

RIPLEY – Ripley Central School Board of Education voted at a special meeting to move ahead with a proposition to embark on a $2 million facilities reconstruction program.

At the same meeting, the board approved propositions to submit its 2014-15 budget to voters, and to purchase two new school buses. The proposed budget anticipates a decrease of 5.3 percent in the tax levy. The buses are expected to cost $110,000 and $135,000. The second bus includes wheelchair accessibility.

A public hearing is set for May 8 at 7:30 p.m. for both the budget and the reconstruction project. Ron Kessler of the architectural firm, Sandberg Kessler, will present an overview of the project at the meeting. The district has scheduled a half-day of classes for that date in order to prepare for the hearing.

Residents will have the opportunity to vote on both the facilities reconstruction project and the budget on May 20.

The reconstruction project constitutes phase one of a larger plan to renew the district facilities. A preliminary outline of this phase estimates the total cost to be $1,945,200. This includes reconstruction costs of $1,391,400; design and construction contingency costs of $209,000; a 3 percent cost escalation estimate of $48,000; and incidental cost estimates of $296,800.

Much of the cost may be covered by EXCEL (Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning) funds from the state. Projects using EXCEL funds must fall into one or more of the following criteria – education technology, health and safety, accessibility, physical capacity/school expansion or energy (conservation) construction – to qualify.

The reconstruction project focuses on the exterior and interior of the building as well as the grounds. Work covered in phase one includes replacing or repairing concrete sidewalks and pavement; re-pointing the exterior masonry of the building; replacing selected areas of the roof; installing interior acoustic ceiling baffles; restoring damaged wood in the 1940s library and replacing two 1968 boilers.

If voters approve, the project would enter the design development phase. If all goes well, bids would be sought in February and March of 2015, and construction would take place between late June and mid-October the same year.

A risk assessment by the State Historic Preservation Office declared that the project would have little or no impact on the local environment.

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