District may hire project architect

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education is expected to hire an architectural firm next week for a major capital project involving public-safety improvements at city school buildings.

The board has scheduled a meeting for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Johnstown High School.

The first 30 minutes of the meeting is expected to be a closed-door executive session to center on which architectural firm to select for the capital project. After that, the board is scheduled to go into open session for its regular monthly business meeting, at which point the board may approve the firm, board President Paul VanDenburgh said Friday.

VanDenburgh said the district doesn’t have a specific list of project items yet. He said that will be figured out when working with the architectural firm later. He said the district would like to do roof work at some of the schools.

“There isn’t a definition,” VanDenburgh said. “It’s just many different projects, mostly safety-related.”

The district does not yet know how much the project will cost, but it is expected it to be in the millions.

About 15 percent to 20 percent of the cost of the capital project will be for an architect and engineer, as well as a fiscal adviser.

District Superintendent Robert DeLilli said the board and district administration met in special session and interviewed potential architectural firms Dec. 4 at JHS. Five of the board’s nine members met for more than three hours with representatives of these firms: IBI Group of Binghamton, Bonacci Architects of Utica and CS Arch of Albany.

The district doesn’t have an exact budget or scope of work it wants to do yet.

The board first decided in April to informally seek proposals from architectural firms to do an extensive districtwide capital project to improve its buildings.

Capital projects could be 90 percent to 95 percent funded by state aid. Capital projects, once approved by the state Education Department, also eventually require a public referendum. The district is looking at possibly scheduling a referendum for next fall.

The district’s last major capital project took place in the mid- to late 2000s. The district built a new auditorium at Johnstown High School and added synthetic turf at Knox Field.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.