BH-BL district leaders and the Board of Education are excited to announce that the first phase of the voter-approved Building Our 2nd Century Renovations Referendum project is slated to begin this summer, 2014.
For the past several months, district leaders and the Renovations Committee have been working closely with our architects and construction management firm to draft detailed specifications of the 33 separate projects included in the 2013 referendum. The $34.2 million project, overwhelming approved by voters in October 2013, has been submitted to the State Education Department for approval.
Assistant Superintendent for School Support Services Chris Abdoo explains that it is anticipated to take anywhere from 12 to 22 weeks to get approval from SED on a project. If all procedures continue as expected, construction will begin during the summer of 2014.
“Any school district in New York State that is undergoing a renovations or construction project is required by law to submit plans to SED for its approval,” says Abdoo. “Given the lengthy approval turnaround time, we carefully reviewed our list of projects and strategically mapped out a timeline aimed at keeping our renovations project in constant motion.”
The Renovations Committee also wanted to ensure that some of the earliest work to be done included projects that address one of the district’s priorities: Safety and security needs.
Last summer, at the request of many parents, BH-BL installed new electronic locks and a security card entry system at entrances to all five schools to better control access into the buildings during class hours. Secure main vestibules were also constructed at three of the school buildings last summer. This renovations referendum includes the construction of secure vestibules at the remaining two schools.
“We take the safety and security of our students, staff and buildings very seriously,” said Abdoo. “That is why it’s important for us to complete our safety and security initiatives through this referendum by replacing our temporary security measures at Stevens and the middle school, and establishing secure vestibules at the main entrance of each of our schools.”
When planning the schedule for each construction phase of the 2013 referendum, it was necessary for district officials to account for the State Education Department’s review process and approval time frame. Currently, projects requiring only architectural approval (masonry work, turf field, paving, etc.) have a shorter turnaround time compared to projects requiring engineering and electrical approval (STEAM addition, classroom upgrades and other renovations, etc.).
With that in mind, the district has attempted to schedule projects for Phase 1 that required the least review time in order to maximize the opportunity to begin construction during the summer of 2014.
Phase I includes projects that will begin in June 2014 and are anticipated to be complete in early fall. It also includes projects that will begin in early fall and have an anticipated completion date in early winter 2014.
“The next few years are going to be very exciting as the work in our renovations referendum progresses,” says Superintendent Patrick McGrath. “Yet, while this is happening, it’s of primary importance that we work around our students and staff, and that academic instruction is not interrupted.”
To minimize disruptions to the learning process, the projects that are slated to begin in early fall 2014 will be worked on after school and during the evening. Additionally, there could be some temporary changes to the traffic flow and main entrances at O’Rourke Middle School and Stevens Elementary School during those time frames. More information will be available once work gets underway and temporary plans are put in place.
Here is a list of projects included in Phase I:
The entire renovations referendum is expected to be complete by the fall of 2018. For more information and to view a comprehensive list of the 33 projects included in the Renovations Referendum, please use the links in the navigation box on the top right of this page.
We will continue to keep you informed of the progress of the
project and share photos on our website and
Facebook page. We also encourage you to sign up for our
School News Notifier
(SNN) system to receive construction information and updates via
email. (Select the District News category when signing up.)