By CRISTINE MEIXNER
WELLS - Wells Central School District voters will be asked, probably in mid- to late-summer, if they want to spend money on a building project that would include installing security measures at the school.
The project is in its very early stages. The Board of Education has not yet determined what would be done or the projected cost, but intends to do so at its April 17 meeting.
Mosaic Associates Architects, Albany, which has done previous work for the school, was called in to make recommendations and estimate costs. Marty Weber and Nick Waer, representatives of that firm, addressed the BOE March 20.
They reminded the BOE the state Education Department would fund projects that address security issues at an additional 10 percent above normal building aid. Wells' building aid is currently 35 percent, so security-related items are eligible for 45 percent state funding. Security items being considered are as follows.
Building a vestibule with new security doors, a buzz-in system, security cameras and a card swipe or key fob entry system. An option would be to have a computer system whereby local police agencies can access the school's cameras in the event of an emergency (the school would have to contact them and authorize them to access the camera online).
Retrofitting or replacing interior doors, depending upon the condition or style of each door, so a proper school lockdown can be accomplished. Presently, locks and keys are not uniform. Some doors can be locked and others cannot, and very few meet state guidelines, as they lack panic bars.
The building project may also include repairing or rebuilding the loading dock, new gymnasium lights, distance learning upgrades, improvements to the staff storage room and SMART Boards for classrooms.
The loading dock is severely eroded. Test holes would have to be drilled to determine if it can be repaired or if a rebuild would be required. The walk-in cooler sits on a portion of the loading dock, and depending on what testing uncovers the cooler may need to be temporarily relocated and put back when the job is finished.
According to Mosaic Associates the present gym lights are antiquated and unsafe.
The BOE had the Distance Learning Lab evaluated last fall by Northeastern Regional Information Center in Albany, which installed the lab during the 1997-98 school year. NERIC quoted $45,000 for an update. The update would qualify for BOCES aid.
The door and air exchange in the staff storage room, a former closet, do not meet code.
The architects also recommend putting SMART Boards in the classrooms, as they currently qualify for 35 percent state funding.
Editor's Note: This article is based on draft minutes of the Wells Central School District Board of Education meeting of March 20, 2013 as provided by Secretary to the Superintendent Kathleen Towers.