Officials: Despite work, buildings set

GLOVERSVILLE — Gloversville Enlarged School District officials reported that buildings were ready when teachers and students returned to school last week despite ongoing capital project work.

School started on Sept. 5 following a summer that saw buildings go through major renovations as part of the district’s $37.8 million capital project.

The Board of Education was updated on the project’s final stages that will be carried out through the fall during Monday’s meeting.

“We had a big summer and we’re going to continue to have a big fall,” Bob Grande of Turner Construction said.

Grande reported that work on most school buildings was complete ahead of the new school year, with some windows due for overnight installation at Boulevard Elementary School along with some other odds and ends and punch list items at the remaining buildings.

Grande said that one school still requires extensive work, Gloversville Middle School.

“We’re still right in the middle of it. We’re moving through, we’re pretty much right where we thought we were going to be,” Grande said.

Work at the middle school includes replacement of the heating and ventilation systems after 20 years in operation and the replacement of light fixtures with energy efficient LEDs.

Grande informed the board in July that ceiling tiles would be left off through much of the building this school year due to an ongoing issue with roof leaks that district officials are working to address.

The middle school roof that was replaced about eight years ago has been plagued by leaks along spray foam seams that have split on the cover board that was installed above old insulation when the roof was replaced, with some spanning about 70 feet, creating fast moving leaks.

The roof is still under warranty and district officials and attorneys have been in contact with the warranty holder trying to have the roof replaced again. Infrared scans were conducted on the roof, that showed the leaks are likely the result of a faulty roof or improper installation as there is no issue with the building. The inspection results have been submitted to the warranty company and the district is waiting for a response.

Building custodians address leaks as they occur to prevent interior building damage, but Grande advised the school board against replacing ceiling tiles as called for in the capital project until the roof issue is addressed to prevent the new tiles from receiving water damage, necessitating subsequent replacement.

Work installing light fixtures and other ceiling devices will continue as called for, with ceiling borders in place to provide stability, but the ceiling tiles will be left off in the majority of the building throughout the school year. Contractors will return to the building to install the new tiles once the middle school roof has been repaired or replaced.

Grande said work in the building’s sixth grade wing is complete, the ceiling grid is in place in the eighth grade wing and crews are beginning to work on the seventh grade wing.

Additionally, work on the majority of the district’s athletic fields is complete, although some hydroseeding may be conducted in the spring. The tennis courts at the middle and high school will receive a topcoat of pavement in the next few weeks, followed by a synthetic coating for completion this fall. Work on the softball and baseball fields is currently underway, to be completed this fall for spring use.

The bulk of the parking lot work is complete at district campuses, with some signage, guard rails and permanent hand rails due for installation. The parking lot at the middle school’s administration entrance is currently awaiting paving.

Overall, district officials said the school year has started off smoothly, with GESD Superintendent David Halloran saying positively that the first day of school was relatively uneventful.

“It was a great opening day. It exceeded my expectations considering how far we are in the project. I thought it could be chaotic, but there were hardly any complaints,” Halloran said. “I hit every building in the district and I’m happy with what I saw. I saw a lot of people happy to greet kids and a lot of smiling faces.”

Halloran said there have been minor hiccups since school started a week ago as parents and staff acclimate to new campus traffic patterns and a few IT issues surrounding connectivity have cropped up.

“Considering the scope of work that’s been done it’s minor,” Halloran said.

Halloran and the school board commended the work completed by Turner and the district building and grounds crew over the summer on the capital projects and preparing for the resumption of classes.

“I can’t really say enough about Turner and building and grounds for preparing us for the school year. They promised me that they would be ready and they delivered,” Halloran said. “They did a phenomenal job getting us ready. These buildings are clean, they’re safe, they’re conducive for teaching and learning.”

The Board of Education also officially recognized the district building and grounds staff for their dedication and hard work through a proclamation of commendation.

“I couldn’t agree more, the buildings and grounds crew you guys have here, they were phenomenal. I’ve worked with a lot of schools in my career with Turner and this is one of the better, if not the best, building and grounds crew I’ve worked with,” Grande added. “They were a huge part if not the biggest part of getting the school ready to go and cleaned up for kids to come back.

Park Terrace Elementary School Principal Brian DiPasquale also recognized district teachers and custodians who prepared classrooms in the final days before school started.

“Every classroom was welcoming and ready to go on the first day of school and that’s a big shoutout to teachers and the custodians,” DiPasquale said.