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General Brown’s $13.3 million capital project down to punch-list items

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DEXTER — When students return for the 2012-13 school year, they most likely won’t notice all of the changes that have been built up over the past few years from the General Brown Central School District’s $13.3 million capital project.

District Operations Manager Gary C. Grimm said students won’t see asbestos abatement, heating/cooling system improvements, utility work or other project improvements, but there are a few perks that might make for a more comfortable learning environment.

“Hopefully, classrooms will not be drafty in the wintertime,” he said.

Windows have been replaced throughout the district.

Business Administrator Michele A. Traynor said students will have a less bumpy ride into Dexter Elementary and the junior-senior high school, as parts of those school parking lots recently were paved. Students also will be able to enjoy a wireless Internet connection, with the required password.

The three-phase project, which has been in the works since voters approved the project in 2008, is in the home stretch. Mrs. Traynor said the project was broken into three phases, with phase 1 completed, phase 2 in “punch-list” mode and phase 3 about 90 percent complete.

Mr. Grimm said punch-list items may include small tasks or projects, such as completing something that has yet to be up to specs or adjusting tension on door closers.

Masonry work at Dexter Elementary School and replacement of doors, windows and roofing at both Dexter and Brownville-Glen Park elementary schools was done in phase 1. Phase 2 included replacement of boiler systems at Brownville-Glen Park Elementary and the junior-senior high school, electrical and plumbing work, and replacement of doors and windows at the junior-senior high school. The high school’s artificial turf field and track also was completed in the second phase.

The third phase focused mainly on paving at Dexter Elementary and the junior-senior high school and included the replacement of the auditorium’s 510 seats and air-conditioning unit. Mrs. Traynor said the district was able to go forward with phase three, which wasn’t originally planned because the first two phases came in about $1.6 million under budget.

Periodic updates are sent to the state Education Department, and upon review of submitted materials, state aid is sent to the district. Mrs. Traynor said the district will get back about 86 percent, or $11.4 million, in state building aid.

The financial outlook for additional projects is bleak, she said.

“There isn’t any indication it’ll improve,” she said. “I think that’s why the state has capital projects voted on separately.”

Mr. Grimm said a wish list of items to be repaired or added to school buildings and grounds comes from a five-year building-condition survey, which is required by the state. That survey report, done by a hired architectural and engineering firm, highlights areas that need improvement. From there, the district sets priorities and creates a capital project proposal.

Mr. Grimm said the next building survey is scheduled to take place in 2015.

“There’s always something you’re looking at, like what we didn’t do for paving,” he said. “Portions of roofs will come out of warranty, too.”

He said the recent three-prong project was the district’s largest since Dexter Elementary was built in 1989 and the junior-senior high school’s new gymnasium was built in 1996.

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