SCHROON LAKE - Work is expected to begin this summer on an expansion and renovation project at Schroon Lake Central School.

State Education Department officials formally approved the project last week and school officials are now seeking construction bids.

"Construction should start right after graduation," Schroon Superintendent Mike Bonnewell said. "We'll start by tearing down the tin buildings and do the addition at the rear; then we'll move to the renovations of the existing building. Hopefully, we can be all done by September 2010."

Technically, the work is two projects - a $13.4 million upgrade of the existing school building and a separate $1.3 million conversion of the current combination gym/auditorium into an auditorium.

Voters approved both measures June 28, 2006.

The first proposition totals $13,398,159.

It calls for repairs to the school's exterior, replacement of single-pane windows and doors installed in the 1960s, installation of a state-mandated storm water basin, installation of mandated fire doors, installation of safety systems, asbestos and lead containment, installation of a state-mandated elevator for handicap accessibility, electrical upgrades, an energy efficiency system, replacement of boilers and internet accessibility.

The proposition also calls for construction of five new classrooms for pre-kindergarten, elementary science, special education, speech and occupational and physical therapy as well as a gymnasium and locker rooms. Current classrooms will be refurbished.

The second proposition totals $1,329,742.

It calls for the current combination gym/auditorium to be converted into an auditorium with additional permanent seating, improved lighting, improved sound system and new stage rigging and curtains.

The projects are eligible for 24.5 percent state aid.

Bonnewell is hopeful the current economic climate could lead to the project coming in under cost estimates. Mayfield Central School District this year had $4.5 million building project come in at $3.6 million.

"We won't know for sure until we get the bids, but the few schools out there doing projects this year have come in at budget or slightly lower," he said. "Hopefully, we'll have the same experience."

Schroon Lake School was constructed in 1935. There was an addition built in 1962 and in 1965 temporary classrooms were placed at the rear of the school - those "tin" classrooms are still in use.

Schroon voters rejected a proposed $3.1 million project in 1989; rejected a $1 million boiler replacement project in 1990; had a 1992 building proposal die before going to vote; and rejected an $18.2 million project in 2005.

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