Fredonia residents to vote on school project Tuesday

OBSERVER photo by Jimmy McCarthy Fredonia Schools' Superintendent Jeffrey Sortisio discusses the 2017 capital project proposal during a public presentation at the High School auditorium Friday. Residents within the school district will have the chance to vote for the project Tuesday from 2-9 p.m. at the cafeteria. Sortisio said the project has zero impact to the tax levy since 95 percent of the project is eligible for state aid.

With a vote set next week for Fredonia Central School’s capital project proposal, Superintendent Jeffrey Sortisio outlined details of the work — slated for 2019 — to the public Friday.

The $8.5 million project won’t impact local taxes, according to Sortisio, since 95 percent of the proposed work is eligible to receive state funding.

Describing the project as necessary, Sortisio said it addresses maintenance needs while providing improvements to the parking lots, athletic fields and school buildings.

Highlights within the proposed project detail the replacement of parking lots around the school’s main campus, including the dirt lot located behind the building. The lot wasn’t initially part of the proposed work. Sortisio said including the lot made sense since contractors would be working on the other three.

The athletic fields will undergo drainage work to eliminate frequent flooding issues while the installation of asphalt walkways will connect parking lots to athletic fields and a bathroom facility at the building.

“It’ll make it much easier for everyone to get around,” Sortisio said.

Entryways at the main campus will undergo security enhancements under the proposal. With many schools, Sortisio said people are buzzed in through an exterior door where they enter a vestibule that directs them into an office. The creation of a similar model at the school’s entryways will allow staff to interact with the visitor to determine their purpose and whether they should be released into the school or if someone needs to come see them.

“It provides a much more secure entryway, and we’re going to address that in each of our buildings,” Sortisio said.

Security doors will also be installed near the boy’s and girl’s locker rooms, located in the rear of the middle school, so people can use bathroom facilities without gaining access to the rest of the building.

Other highlights at the main campus include the installation of a girl’s team room to address a Title IX issue and new bleachers in the high school gymnasium.

At the Wheelock Campus, Sortisio said two sections of the roof will be replaced. One portion of the roof was last replaced in 1983 while the other section, installed in 1950, underwent maintenance in the 1980s.

“We’re well beyond our time for replacing those roofs,” Sortisio said.

For every dollar spent on the proposed capital project, the school district would get back approximately 82 cents through state aid. Sortisio reiterated that the proposal is a maintenance project, meaning some work must be done.

“We have to keep the roofs from leaking, we have to repair the parking lots,” he said. “If the proposal isn’t passed, we’re still going to have to do these things. Then we’re going to have to pay for them out of the general fund.”

The Tuesday vote will go from 2-9 p.m. at the high school cafeteria. If the capital project proposal is approved, plans will be submitted for review by the state Education Department. If all approvals are garnered, Sortisio said the hope is to have bids going out for the project in February 2019. Construction would then commence in the spring or summer of 2019.

“I think we’re going to be aggressive in our timeline and hopefully make it a one-season project if we can,” he said. “That will save some funds for sure.”