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FORT ANN — Replacing roofs, improving drainage and updating lighting fixtures and equipment are among the future capital needs for Fort Ann schools, according to its five-year facilities plan.

John Onderdonk of Mosaic Associates reviewed the building conditions survey he had prepared. School districts are required to develop these plans on a regular basis.

Onderdonk told the school board at a recent meeting that the buildings in general are in good shape.

“There’s no big items that jumped out,” he said.

He added that state officials are stressing ongoing upkeep of school buildings rather than brand-new construction.

“The state is looking to have districts maintain their buildings on an ongoing basis,” he said.

The district has retiring debt and school officials would like to be able to time a new project to coincide with that.

Onderdonk described some short-, medium- and long-term projects. The smaller items could be incorporated into the $100,000 projects that school districts are allowed to do every year as a part of their budget.

Among the short-term projects would be replacement of the baseball backstop, gymnasium doors and hardware and exterior doors. Some of the exterior projects, such as the backstop, would have to be coupled with work inside the building to qualify for state aid, according to Onderdonk.

Projects in the medium category would include installation of an emergency generator, reconstruction of the pavement, bus loop and sidewalks to improve drainage, reconstruction of the middle school gymnasium stairs, installation of landings in the band and technology rooms and addition of drainage pipes at the rear entrance.

Longer-term projects would include fixing water seeping into the basement, repairing exterior woodwork and flashing, reconstructing the roof, replacing electrical panels, gymnasium lighting and the hot water heater and upgrading the public address system, exit and emergency lighting systems. Open stairwells also must be enclosed so smoke cannot travel.

At the bus garage, Onderdonk said a short-term project would be installing a fuel tank leak detection monitor. Longer-term projects would be to replace the roof, furnace and air handling unit. The roof is beyond its useful life. Other projects would be to replace the doors, add an exterior landing and upgrade lighting fixtures and emergency lighting.

Board Vice President Jane Sexton questioned whether it would be more cost-effective to build a new bus garage.

“This is a good amount of money to sink into a building that old and (in) that much disrepair,” she said.

Onderdonk said the roof is the big-ticket item. The district recently rebuilt its bus lifts. One idea would be to replace all of the walls but one, so it technically constitutes a renovation of an existing structure.

Superintendent Kevin Froats said the district has been exploring a solar project. If it were to reconstruct the building, it could reinforce the roof so it could support solar arrays.

Froats has not found any suitable off-campus locations for a solar project. He explored a location behind the Fort Ann Rescue Squad. However, he said fire officials were apprehensive about entering into an 18-year lease.

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You can read Michael Goot’s blog “A Time to Learn” at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ps_education.

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reporter - Glens Falls, Northern Warren County, business and politics

Reporter for The Post-Star, covering the city of Glens Falls, town and village of Lake George and northern Warren County communities.

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