School District Superintendent Evette Avila presented an outline of the plan to improve the Walden Elementary School building at the school board meeting on Monday, September 11.
Avila said the plan has three phases. Phase 1 includes forming a building committee and preparing a feasibility report. The committee will then gather input from the community. The committee will conduct equity comparisons with other elementary schools. The Walden Committee will visit other elementary schools in and out of the district.
In Phase 2, the committee will share its feasibility report and make a recommendation to the school board. The board will make a decision and decide a voting process. A community vote will then take place.
In Phase 3, the design process will take place. The district will then submit its plans to the New York State Department of Education. Once the State Education Department approves the raw plan, the bidding process will take place and the district will award contracts to begin work.
It has been more than five years since the school board first discussed possible renovations to the Walden Elementary School.
“This is not final,” she cautioned the board of the process
Avila also reported that the opening of school went smoothly, with enrollment up at the beginning of the new school year.
“At moment, we are up about 60 students,” she reported. “Majority of them are at the secondary level, mostly at the high school, and few at the elementary level.”
District administrators had also expressed concern about the closure of a portion of Route 17K in Montgomery to replace the culvert carrying the road over a stream between State Route 747 and 635 International Boulevard. They had requested that the New York State Department of Transportation delay the project until next summer, when school was not in session. The concern was that emergency vehicles might be hampered in their response, to an emergency, particularly at East Coldenham or Berea Elementary Schools, causing security concerns.
On September 15, Brian Kilmer, DOT Engineer-in-Charge provided an update to the project that got underway this past Monday. He said the planned closure of this roadway for the duration of the replacement of this culvert is no longer feasible, but would only be in effect for stage two of the project.
In stage one, two-way traffic will be shifted to the south into the eastbound lanes while the contractor begins operations on the north side of the roadway. This phase of construction has a tentative length of three weeks.
In stage two, the roadway will need to be fully closed to ensure the safety of the workers and the traveling public. Traffic will be maintained and protected with an off-site detour; a portion of which is through the municipality. Two detour routes are proposed for this closure: one utilizing Interstate 84 and another utilizing State Routes 747, 207 and 208. This phase of construction has a tentative length of three weeks.
In stage three, two-way traffic will be shifted to the north into the westbound lanes while the contractor begins operations on the south side of the roadway. This phase of construction has a tentative length of three weeks. After this phase, minor activities may continue, but there will not be a significant impact to traveling vehicles.
The board meets next on Tuesday, September 26.