After years of construction in all three of Newfield’s schools, the Newfield Central School District capital project is finally nearing completion.
Bill Connor, project executive for LeChase Construction, who is heading up the project, gave the Newfield Central School District Board of Education an update on the progress at the board’s meeting Dec. 19.
Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3 (during holiday break), work on the schools’ kitchen was expected to be completed so that it would be ready to operate when students return.
Connor said the kitchen contractor has been the hardest one to deal with. “As you know, they are a difficult contractor that continues not to deliver on dates, but that is what we are expecting,” Connor said.
Construction trailers are expected to be moved in mid-January.
The auditorium is currently in the final stages, with many finishes occurring at once, states a handout that Connor gave the board members. The flooring is progressing to the point where installation of seating can begin. The seating vendor has indicated that it plans to be begin installation Jan. 13, and it will take about two weeks.
“There’s quite a bit of aisle lighting throughout,” said Connor, adding that the flooring is tile with carpeting down the aisles, and the aisle lighting goes all the way from the balcony to the band pit.
A sound commissioning engineer from Japan will begin work after the seats are installed.
Other finishes are expected to be completed by the time the seats are done, according to Connor.
Board of Education President Jeremy TenWolde asked if there was any way the sound system could be tested earlier than February, as that would be cutting it very close to the time when rehearsals begin for the high school spring production of The Little Mermaid.
“I think we can start before mid-February, sure,” Connor said.
In the elementary school, the majority of the remaining mechanical work was expected to be completed over the break. This includes heating ductwork, piping and insulation, unit commissioning, and temperature controls completion.
Ceilings and lighting are not expected to be finished until around the third week of January. At that point, all hallways and classrooms should be substantially complete, and trades people will be focused on final steps that should not impact school operations.
“It’s just the heat that’s still an issue in some areas,” said Newfield Elementary School Principal Vicky Volpicelli. “I’m not convinced that the hallways are going to heat the classrooms, and it’s very cold in that wing.” The one wing of classrooms she was referring to is still using space heaters, and Volpicelli said she is concerned that it will be chilly without heat in those rooms.
Connor conceded that the heat would likely not be fully operational in that wing for some time, and space heaters would be necessary. The heaters are provided by LeChase, and there should be plenty of them, Connor said.
In the middle school, everything is substantially complete, and in December small crews were focused on final balancing and testing and punch list competition.
Other than the auditorium, cafeteria and kitchen, the majority of the high school is done except for the final last steps.
At the meeting, Volpicelli concluded her elementary school monthly report by handing out lyrics to a creative parody of “Let it Snow,” called “Let it Go.” It was inspired and adapted from the “loved and missed Mr. Don Wright,” a note on the lyrics said. Volpicelli said the staff and students couldn’t help but have a little fun with the unfortunate climate of their classrooms. Some of the lyrics are below.
Oh conditions inside are frightful
But our students are so delightful
Our rooms are all ten below…but…
Let it go, let it go, let it go!
When they finish up
What a sight to behold that we’ll see
There’ll be ceilings, and heat, and air,
Wow! What a school this will be!
Someday we’d like to retire
Will they finish? We all inquire…
How long? We just don’t know! BUT…
We’ll let it go, let it go, let it go!