Price tag balloons on BC projects

Architectural review finds bond would be $26M for repairs, field

— Bethlehem Central Board of Education members experienced a slight case of sticker shock when estimates for facilities upgrades jumped by millions following an architect’s review.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Daniel Heukrath from educational design firm Ashley McGraw presented the school board with estimates and options to upgrade the high school’s athletic field and make repairs and upgrades at several buildings. Doing all the work would cost about $26.6 million, he said. Previous estimates from 2010 that included the new field weighed in at around $16 million.

Superintendent Thomas Douglas warned board members of the new estimate before Heukrath spoke.

“Tonight is sort of the culminating process from the community aspect to the board understanding potential facility issues and concerns over many years and deferments, as well as our obligation under New York State that we have done our due diligence when it comes to upkeep of our facilities and infrastructure,” he said.

The design team did not go over each item that needed to be repaired, but broke them out into upgrades needed at the high school, middle school, elementary schools, other district owned buildings and technology improvements. They then went on to discuss four options for upgrading the athletic field. None of the projects were given a priority level, but BC Operations and Maintenance Director Gregg Nolte will begin to work on prioritization with the design team.

Upgrades to the high school are now estimated to cost close to $4 million, with repairs to the roof and one gymnasium being the largest expenses. Middle school repairs are expected to cost about $3.5 million with new roofing and window replacements costing the most. Masonry work is also expected to be a major expense.

The cost of repairs at all elementary schools totaled about $5 million. Again, roofs and masonry were the most costly concern, as were aging floors and the fact some bathrooms do not meet code for handicapped students.

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