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Looking ahead at the capital project

Almost six months have passed since Central Valley voters approved the district’s $73.6 capital project. Since then, district officials have worked tirelessly to move the project ahead.

“Our architects are meeting with groups of people ranging from food service staff to faculty to get their input on the initial plans. Using that feedback, the architects refine the plans to make certain the building will best match our district’s needs,” said Superintendent Rich Hughes.

Dr. Hughes expects that process to wrap up in Spring 2016. At that point, the district will send those plans to the New York State Education Department (SED) for review. He said staffing cuts at SED have delayed that process; he estimates it will take 11 months for approval. Once approved, the district can request bids for various parts of the job—site preparation, iron work, general construction, electrical, plumbing, etc. Construction will begin immediately thereafter.

“We are anticipating actual construction to begin the summer of 2017 and all students in their buildings by the start of school in September 2020,” he said.

Until everything is finalized, there are no concrete timetables. Dr. Hughes, however, expects the first stages to begin at CVA and the elementary schools.

“At CVA, we’ll move the district offices out of instructional space to reconfigured space downstairs off Weber Ave. That will free up contractors to begin work on the new high school cafeteria and common space,” he said.

“At the elementary schools, contractors will make renovations and add necessary space. That work will take place over the summer and during second shift so as not to disrupt education.”

Once that work is complete, the goal is to completely empty Jarvis.

“About $30 million of the entire project will be spent renovating Jarvis. The scope of the project left us with two choices. We could either shuffle students around in the building during construction or relocate grades 5 and 6 to the elementary buildings and grades 7 and 8 to CVA. Relocating students makes the most sense,” Dr. Hughes said.

In addition to concerns over student safety and interrupted education during construction, he said time and cost are big factors. Emptying the building would reduce anticipated construction time from 38 months to 26 months and save money.

He said it will be a squeeze fitting four buildings of students into three, but planners have looked at the space and determined it can be done.

“Our goal is to have students in educationally appropriate spaces with the least interruption to their learning—and to do that in the quickest, safest, and most cost-effective manner,” he said.

“This will mean short-term disruptions for everyone. Students, their families, and our staff will want to know when and how the construction will effect them. We will certainly share the details of each phase once decided,” he said.