School board committee gets Strough update

Published Mar 5, 2018 at 4:00pm

In “one of our few on-site meetings” according to Board of Education buildings and grounds committee chairman Paul Hagerty, the committee got a first-hand look this morning at the renovation of Strough Middle School’s Laurel Street building.

Committee members and another board member, Stephen Hampe, had “an opportunity too talk about progress on the building and actually see it,” Hagerty said as the committee met in a nearby planning trailer before touring the Strough site. Hagerty also is vice president of the board.

The building-wide $25.4 million Strough project, which began in December 2016 and has vacated the site for the 2016-17 and current 2017-18 school years, is “in the finishes phase...on all floors,” school district Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Paul Rabbia said before the tour. “You can see for yourself what the progression is....how the finishes are all starting to come together.”

The project is scheduled to be completed in time for Strough’s 7th and 8th graders to resume using the building to start the 2018-19 school year in September, after being temporarily relocated to other sites for 2016-17 and 2017-18.

There still is “a lot of project left,” Rabbia said while walking down a hallway during the tour, “but we feel it’s tracking in its original schedule” and also consistent with a scheduling consultant being used by the school district. It is on schedule to be ready for Strough students’ return in September, he added.

The project is “changing week to week...especially certain areas,” Hagerty said as the tour proceeded past various areas where progress was observed including work on sheetrock, casements, flooring and painting.

A status report by project clerk of the works Robert Mihevc said “we are in a good place as far as progress is concerned but some of the issues we need to keep an eye on are: the auditorium sheetrock and paint work; the auditorium ceiling systems; the locker installation; the auditorium seating; the rigging for the stage;...the remaining work in the basement; remaining concrete work related to the building including the east entrance and entry stairs on the south side of the building.”

When the tour reached the auditorium, Mihevc said regarding some areas to “take a good look. You won’t see it in a couple of weeks.” Murals on the auditorium walls will not be retained, as their areas will be affected by project work including heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, Rabbia explained.

When the tour was moving through some music room areas, Hampe asked whether the project components had been coordinated with school faculty members. They were asked for input during the project’s planning phase, Rabbia noted.

Before the tour, board member Lawrence Posselt asked about the progress of the project’s general contractor, J. Priore Construction Co. Inc. of Utica. The company is “doing good, making good progress,” Mihevc commented. A segment that will be “critical to watch...as the weather breaks” will be the work around the exterior entrance to the gym area, said Chris Crolius, a principal in March Associates, the school district’s architect.