Marcellus High School students produce video about revised capital project proposal
Who better to explain the renovations proposed for Marcellus High School – to accommodate the demands of 21st century learning – than students who’ve spent the better part of four years in its classrooms?
In anticipation of next month’s community vote on a proposed capital improvement project at Marcellus Central Schools, Principal John Durkee and district Business Administrator Anthony Sonnacchio enlisted the help of four seniors currently enrolled in an independent film class to produce a video explaining the scope of the project.
“Our school has not been renovated since it was built,” said student Alec Bonk, who joined classmates Audrey Cerrone, Matt Corcoran and Noah Townsend in researching, producing and editing the 4-minute video. “Some areas have not been changed since the building was constructed over 50 years ago.”
To get a handle on how the proposed project would improve their school (as well as select areas of Driver Middle School and K.C. Heffernan Elementary School), the students interviewed Mr. Durkee and Mr. Sonnacchio, as well as Superintendent of Schools Craig Tice and Board of Education members. The final video includes on-camera interviews with Mr. Durkee and Board President Ryan Riefler. The students also shot exterior and interior footage of classrooms, parking lots and original infrastructure, such as heating and ventilation systems.
The video represents the students’ first project with the potential for real-world impact, they said.
“People don’t realize how much the school needs to be updated,” Audrey said. “We know parents and community members are not in the building every day like the students are, so we wanted to show them how much this affects us, so they’ll come out and vote.”
The four students screened the video for board members during their Feb. 9 meeting. The final product was met with resounding applause from the Board of Education.
A public hearing about the proposed capital project is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at Driver Middle School. The community vote will be noon to 9 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, at the high school.
Alec Bonk Audrey Cerrone Matt Corcoran Noah Townsend
Dec. 16, 2014
BOE schedules capital project referendum for March 10
During its regular meeting Dec. 15, the Marcellus Board of Education agreed to schedule a voter referendum on a revised capital improvement project for noon to 9 p.m. March 10, 2015. A public hearing also was scheduled for 7 p.m. March 3.
Tailored to reflect community feedback after the first vote failed Oct. 21, the $14.84 million “Revised Capital Improvement Project for 21st Century Education” eliminates most of the new construction included in the original $18.5 million plan, including a lobby addition and expanded parking areas at the high school.
Because the construction of new space qualifies for less state aid than renovations to existing classrooms, the district’s facilities committee made every effort to limit additions. As a result, nearly all (98 percent) of the work in the revised proposal qualifies for state aid, architect Matt Monaghan of SEI Design Group said, bringing the local share of the cost to $33 for the owner of a $100,000 home ($24 less than the original plan).
The proposed project includes:
Marcellus High School: Classroom renovations; partial roof replacement; a reconfigured main office; renovated locker rooms; and a new choral room — $13.8 million (reduced from $17.7 million).
K.C. Heffernan Elementary School: Unit ventilator replacements; new roof on rear building wing; and new, secure entrance — $973,125.
To give district residents an opportunity to learn about the renovations included in the proposed project, the Marcellus Central Schools facilities committee has scheduled three information sessions, each of which will include a tour of the affected areas. Those sessions will be held Jan. 29, Feb. 7 and Feb. 10.
Dec. 8, 2014
Facilities committee overhauls proposed capital improvements
After voters on Oct. 21 rejected the district’s proposed $18.5 million “Innovation through Renovation” capital improvement project, the Marcellus Central Schools facilities committee went back to the drawing board. The group’s goal: to pare down the scope and price tag of the earlier proposal by nearly $4 million and increase its state aid eligibility.
A new plan, presented to Board of Education members during a special meeting Dec. 8, eliminates most of the new construction included in the original design, such as a lobby addition and expanded parking areas at the high school. New construction qualifies for less state aid than renovations to existing space, architect Matt Monaghan of SEI Design Group explained during the meeting.
“The new lobby would have been beautiful and the expanded lobby restrooms more conducive to large groups, but those changes were not going to be cost-effective,” Mr. Monaghan said.
The revised proposal’s total cost is $14.84 million. Mr. Monaghan said he estimates 98 percent of the work qualifies for state aid, and the local share would come to $33 for the owner of a $100,000 home ($24 less than the original plan).
The only new addition now included in the proposal is a new choral room adjacent to the auditorium. The existing choral space, athletic offices and large-group instruction room will give way to an integrated main office, to centralize administration, guidance, health services and the school resource officer.
The “Revised Capital Improvement Project for 21st Century Education” also includes roof replacements at the high school and K.C. Heffernan Elementary School. A roof assessment recently completed for the district identified acute deficiencies in the roof of a rear wing at KCH and in the section that connects the main part of the high school building with the auditorium.
All the academic improvements requested for the high school in the first referendum remain unchanged in the new plan. As before, the project would renovate and transform the high school’s science, math and technology classrooms into a collaborative, cross-curricular STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) annex on the first floor, and create a similar second-floor humanities wing for English and social studies classes. The high school work also includes renovations to the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and the relocation of the main entrance to be closer to the gymnasium and auditorium.
Opened in 1965, the high school has remained largely unchanged in its 50 years of operation.
The project also would repair deficiencies that were identified in the district’s 2010 Building Condition Survey – a mandatory evaluation of the district’s facilities (utilities, plumbing, electrical, lighting, roofing, etc.) that the state requires every five years. The survey calls for the installation of new entry doors and corridor lockers, replacement of skylights, water pumps, pipes, removal of asbestos and lead-based paint and the painting of exterior wood fascia.
Here’s the building-by-building cost breakdown:
Marcellus High School: $13.8 million (reduced from $17.7)
Driver Middle School: $40,000, to install a secure entrance.
K.C. Heffernan Elementary School: $973,125, to replace unit ventilators; replace the roof on a rear wing of the building; and install a secure entrance.
At its next regular meeting, at 7 p.m. Dec. 15, the Board of Education will consider scheduling a public referendum vote, most likely for March 10, 2015, as well as a public hearing on the project at 6 p.m. March 2. The district is in the process of scheduling dates for public information sessions and facility tours. Check the website for updates in the days ahead.