Saranac Central eyeing $17.5m capital project

SARANAC - Saranac Central School District has its sights set on approximately $17.5 million in improvements that officials say will save the district money down the road.

According to superintendent Kenneth O. Cringle, the school district is putting the capital improvement project before the voters Tuesday, Feb. 9. The project, said Cringle, is the result of a year-long study to determine ways to increase energy efficiency district-wide.

"We knew with the age of many of our heating systems it was time to join forces with an architectural firm. They came in, helped us review our needs and [the project] is kind of a culmination of that long study," said Cringle, who added heating systems at both Saranac and Morrisonville elementary schools are close to 50 years old.

The project, if approved as proposed, would replace the heating systems and further consist of mechanical and electrical upgrades at Saranac Middle/High School, and the district's bus garage and maintenance buildings. Improvements would also include security enhancements to each building and the creation of a 3,000-square-foot addition at Saranac Elementary.

The addition, said Cringle, would accommodate space to relocate the school district's main offices, which are currently housed in the former Dannemora Elementary School building on Emmons Street in the town of Dannemora.

"Right now, when an administration office is not in a building with students, there is absolutely no state aid available for maintenance costs," explained Cringle. "So, by moving it into a school building that does occupy students, we will have aid for maintenance and also it will reduce the extra energy and maintenance costs we're using presently."

The district only occupies a portion of the more than 6,000-square-foot building in Dannemora, said Cringle, who added the 3,000-square-foot would be "conservative."

"When we went into this, the board [of education] realized because of the dire economic times that we didn't want to add any frills to this project," said Cringle. "We're hoping [the addition] not only provides us with room for the district office but also additional space for initiating a pre-k as soon as the state initiates funding once again," said Cringle. "Our buildings, in terms of space utilization, are very well-utilized presently."

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