"It's definitely going to be a race to the finish," Dunkirk City School Building and Grounds Superintendent Tim Abbey said of the renovations at the elementary schools.
After a year-long absence from Dunkirk, students and staff will be returning from Wheelock to newly renovated Schools 4 and 5. From the outside things appear as though the district still has a significant amount of work to do but that isn't the case according to Superintendent Gary Cerne.
"People don't realize what good shape we're in," he said. "Guys are working 10-hour days and they're working Saturdays, and the football field guys even worked Sunday, so we're logging a lot of hours. John Watkins from LPCiminelli says nothing to worry about at all."
Dunkirk Building Project
Cerne and Abbey both agree that there is no doubt that the district will have occupancy certificates for Schools 3, 4 and 5. However, there are a handful of items that will continue to be worked on beyond the first day of school.
"There will be little pieces, some minor things that need to be done second shift, but we planned on that," Cerne said.
One of the items will be the elevators, which Abbey said were delayed on the suppliers end. The installation of those in Schools 3, 4 and 5 will take place once the school year begins.
OBSERVER Photo By Michael Rukavina
The entrance to School 4, similar to that being constructed at Schools 3 and 5, features two sets of double doors with a secretary’s window in between in a lobby.
"Typically that is your systems work, stuff that isn't required, like for example we want to balance an air system or align cameras or things we discover as we're moving in. When you put in air systems for example they have to get balanced and tweaked in, and there are systems like our boilers that we don't have to start up the first day of school." Abbey said of the second shift work to be done during the school year.
"We are having some difficulties with some of our finishes. We may have to do some temporary stuff just because of the nature of the work, the terrazzo work (hard surface flooring) specifically is a touchy item that we're working in right now in a few areas."
The terrazzo work Abbey spoke of will be placed in the hallways of the new additions at Schools 4 and 5. A rough pour of the flooring will be made prior to the start of school but the finished product will not be completed on time.
To anyone touring School 4, it's clear the building has changed and anyone who knew the old buildings well will notice the new and intricate work throughout.
Dropped ceilings inside each of the elementary schools will be recessed away from the windows. According to Abbey, this allows for the windows to extend as high as they do because the dropped ceiling is now connected away from the wall.
All rooms will have custom fitted white boards, and eventually will be equipped with Smart Boards as well.
Entrances to areas such as the media center and cafeteria will have a recessed fixture above the doorways with lettering labeling the room.
Each media center/library will have space inside for teaching to take place as well as a back room for intensive instruction. Each media center/library will look similar in Schools 3, 4, and 5.
The media center in School 3 however will be completed later than those in Schools 4 and 5.
According to Abbey, School 3 will be further behind overall than Schools 4 and 5 because the district anticipated asbestos abatement to take place in a few rooms at a time throughout the school year. Rather than go through relocating of teachers throughout the school year, Abbey said, the district decided to pull the trigger and as soon as school ended the building was emptied and asbestos abatement took place.
"The cafeteria at School 3 is where the focus is right now," Abbey said. "The additions at the other schools, minus the floor the concrete for whatever reason isn't drying so we can't put on the floor finish, but other than the finish they're done. School 3 is where they are at now, it's the bulk of what's left."
The entrance to each school will have handicapped accessible doors that can be locked. Upon entry guests will be able to visit the secretary's window and wait in the lobby for their child. There is also a second set of double doors in between the main entrance and secretary's window.
Special to School 4 is the that the staff parking lot was moved to the rear of the building off of Washington Avenue. A bus loop will be out front off Central Avenue, and grass will be planted around the relocated playground where the old parking lot once was.
Cerne said an open house of completed Phase II projects will not be available for the public until later in the year but there will be a program for students and parents taking place on Aug. 29 at 8 a.m. This will give students and parents a chance to acclimate themselves with the new facilities and learn about the new procedures.
Part of the Phase II EXCEL project but not connected with the elementary schools is the football field at the high school which according to Cerne has been completed.
To view a short tour inside School 4 please visit www.observertoday.com
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