Colonie Central High School recently completed some renovations that make the building easier to access for students in wheelchairs, as well as some cosmetic updates to its front entrance.
The changes are a result of the capital project that was approved by voters in October 2012 to make the main entrance handicap accessible. The project also enhanced some security features.
While the building was already Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, students who needed to use those entrances would sometimes have difficulty getting in the building because the doors were locked. Until the upgrades were made, CCHS was the only school in the district without ADA accessibility at the main entrance.
“Before, you could only get in at the library and the Sandcreek Road entrance. After 9/11 we started locking down the doors, and people weren’t near them after school started,” said Mike O’Neil, assistant superintendant for building and grounds.
The new main entrance designed by Mosaic Associates, the architecture firm the district works with, removed the steps inside the main entrance and replaced them with a ramp.
The first step of the project was removing asbestos so the demolition process could begin.
“They started the first day the kids were out (of school). … We had to remove some asbestos in the main curtain wall that was in the caulk joints in the window and ceiling. There were no real surprises, other than what you generally get when you make renovations to an older building. Once we got the clean air, we started to demo,” said O’Neil.
Another aspect of the project is the replacement of old cameras and getting rid of the analog system, which the surveillance system currently operates on. When the cameras are updated, the monitors will be viewable in one place by those permitted to view them. O’Neil said the surveillance system is mainly used to replay things that already happened.
The school also updated the door locking system that makes rooms more secure in the event of a lockdown. The system to buzz visitors into the school in was also updated.