Originally posted by The Salamanca Press | By Kellen M. Quigley | Published on May 20, 2021

SALAMANCA — Roughly two weeks following the reopening ceremony of Veterans Memorial Park and its brand new facilities, the Salamanca City Central School District is on track with the next two portions of its ongoing capital improvement project.

Representatives from Turner Construction and Stieglitz Snyder Architecture (SSA) updated the Board of Education May 18 on the status of the upcoming work as part of Phase 3.3 and 3.4 of the project.

Matt Sikora of Turner reviewed the substantial completion of Phase 3.2 concerning Vets Park as of April 30. He said there is a long list in the project closeouts, which were 75% complete with approximately 76 items remaining, due in part to mixed weather conditions.

“Everyone has had their eyes on the facilities and we’ve documented everything that has been requested to be addressed and fixed,” he said, adding submittal status of closing out Vets Park should be completed by the end of June.

Jeff Kloetzer of SSA said they have been looking at the conditions of Prospect Elementary School by starting with a program exercise of what works and what does not. He said this helps the architects understand the space and how the school functions.

Next, a series of studies to explore and evaluate options for additional classrooms led to two options. The first was moving and turning spaces back into classrooms from student support and improving the look of the front of the building.

“When we reviewed this with the principal, the last thing we realized was if we did an addition off the front, the three classroom corridors would be dedicated to classrooms and we’d have very little student activity in those corridors except to go to and from their classrooms,” he explained.

The second option was to build a large addition along the back of the building to connect the three corridors and create two courtyards, something Kloetzer said would not be ideal from a safety standpoint.

A plan to build off the front of the building could include a STEAM room, an L-shaped space for academic support space and also create a play space, Kloetzer explained. They also looked at putting in big windows across the front of the building, a Seneca culture space and connecting these areas with inviting colors on the outside.

AT THE INTERMEDIATE and high schools campus, the project would focus on the administrative office, the look around the outside of the building, some class renovations and the deliveries space renovations.

“Similar to Prospect, we went out and walked through the entire building, got familiar with everything before we really got started,” he said.

Kloetzer said they spent a lot of time with administrative staff to find out who needs to be near whom, what is needed, what they don’t have and should have and solutions. He said they developed maps and developed a preferred concept with the administrative spaces divided to specific space, a new outside entrance with a security vestibule with two inside entrances.

“One thing we heard the most from the group was they wanted to be more open,” he said. “We started looking at conference rooms that could be open, have glass to bring natural light into the space and really create an exciting work environment for the admin staff of the district.”

Kloetzer said the addition could be a red and gray brick one-story building and create a break between the high school and the administrative section of the building. The roof could have a clear story window, he said, and the teal band currently around the building could be updated to add color and depth to the campus.

For the athletic field updates, Kloetzer said they received a lot of great feedback from every part of the school on what the facilities should be. He said they have designs for the new tennis courts, the need to look at the geothermal wells and a layout for the track and field.

“At this point in time, we’re just evaluating what we’ll call the support structure such as where the concessions are, where are the toilets, how do they fit in, do we use the former Greer building and fix it up or build a new building,” he explained. “It’s kind of the last major item that we’re looking at relating to the track and this piece of the project.”

Kloetzer said the final options for the track and field should be available in a few weeks. The drawings have been sent to Turner for prices, and the next steps will be the development.

“I definitely think we’re in the right direction,” he added. “We’ve looked at a lot of options, we’ve had a lot of feedback and hopefully everyone who has been involved from the district is excited about it and pleased with the process.”

Superintendent Robert Breidenstein thanked the crews from SSA for all their work on Phase 3.3 and 3.4, saying the process was positive with SSA doing a lot of communicating and following up with the district in the early stages before designs were first proposed.

“That has made this process, from a district perspective, far more efficient and focused,” he said. “Where we end up with the designs and the ultimate building and submittals to the state Education Department, I think we’re in a much better position to eliminate the substantial change orders that we had in Phases 1, 2, 3.1 and 3.2.”

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com)