By Josh Hatcher
The capital improvement projects are getting “buttoned up,” in the words of Ellicottville Central Schools Superintendent Mark Ward at the November 17 Board of Education meeting. Ward addressed the board with an update on various odds and ends as the multi-million dollar renovation wraps up.
He explained to the board that he’s putting together a walk through with the Buildings and Grounds Committee, the board and the contractors who worked on the project to evaluate the work and identify any corrections that need to be made.
“We’re about to sign off on this. We want to make sure everything is done right before we close the books,” as Ward explained, or the burden will be on the district and not the contractors to fix any issues.
Some of the issues brought up at previous board meetings have already been addressed. Six-foot lockers have been ordered to replace the five-foot lockers that were mistakenly delivered – at the expense of the contractors, not the district. The locker room showers were repaired so that the water does not run out into the floor. 400 chairs in two different styles have arrived, along with new benches. Tile has been installed and grouted on the floor of the entrance area.
While the gymnasium serves dual duty as an auditorium and a gym, certain precautions need to be taken to preserve the equipment and the stage area. The cover for the stage has been ordered and is still to be completed but they have not decided what they want to use to cover the bleachers.
Ward explained that the lighting in the gymnasium is still being discussed. The LED lights hang from the ceiling, and they are trying to determine whether they would be better if fixed to the I-beams on the ceiling.
Those lights, though, worked “great” at the fall concert, according to Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller. Miller said that the lighting was dimmable and controlled by a state-of-the-art lighting board in the control room. Ward remarked that the LEDs don’t require warm up, which is very nice. Miller offered praise to Jon Wilder, who he described as a “wizard” with the new equipment.
Wilder was approved by the board to serve as a substitute teacher and as the play director for the school year. Ward explained that he was previously involved with work in Salamanca schools, where he used similar audio and lighting equipment.
The board sanctioned a number of personnel at the meeting, including Lindsay Langworthy as a substitute teacher and Dave McCann and Jaye Zelko as Homework Club Advisors. Boy’s and Girls Basketball scorers and timers were also lined up – Glenn Hall, Karen Morton, Tammy Eddy, Dave McCann, Matt Finn, Karl Schwartz, John Golley and Todd Palmatier.
A resolution was also passed to create two new positions, Part-Time Teacher Aide and Full-Time Teacher Aide. Those positions were previously filled and funded in part by the AmeriCorps program. Ward announced at the last meeting that this year’s federal funding was cut for AmeriCorps, so the board worked to create those positions as staff, effective Dec. 9, 2015.
Ward also floated an idea that he wanted the board to consider. A wheelchair accessible van is available on an auction site. One of the school’s staff recommended that the district purchase the van because the school has at least one student who would benefit from the vehicle over the next few years. The board agreed that researching the van or another similar vehicle is a good idea.
The homework club is booming, according to Elementary Principal Connie Poulin. She explained that there are a lot of students attending the program to get help with their homework after school. She said that the K-2 program is a challenge because there are three different grades of kids in one classroom. She is hoping to get a few high school student volunteers to help.
Bob Miller was encouraged by recent accomplishments of his students, including the girls and boys soccer teams and football teams which made it to the Far West Regionals. He also expressed pride in the volleyball team, which made it into the playoffs. A group of students from West Valley and ECS were able to sing the National Anthem at Rich Stadium, and then a smaller group of students performed it at Regionals. Miller said they did an amazing job, and he was impressed.
The next meeting of the Board of Education is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.