Possible cost of projects: $22-$45M

JOHNSTOWN – Proposed improvements at the city’s schools could cost between $22 million and $45 million.

An architectural firm hired by the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education on Thursday unveiled the requests for possible projects to include in a capital plan.

District officials said they will pare down potential work before the proposal goes to district voters in the fall.

“Now, it’s our turn,” said Superintendent Robert DeLilli.

Board President Paul VanDenburgh said the community has been “generous” to the district in the past in approving capital projects.

Architect Bryan Manning explained various proposed parts of the capital plan. He said the cost of the top items would be about $22 million, but all requests total $45 million. He said many of the buildings would get new roofs.

He said the district may have to get a “supermajority” of 60 percent or better voter approval to pass the capital plan, depending on how much it ends up costing.

“What we have shown is what everybody had asked for,” Manning said.

The board’s Facilities/Capital Project Committee will meet Aug. 7 on the proposals.

Fiscal adviser Benjamin Maslona told the board the district may be able to receive close to 90 percent in building aid from the state. He said the district’s current debt limit is about $23.6 million.

“This project is going to be phased in over a two- to three-year period,” Maslona said.

Manning reviewed projects for the district’s six main buildings in use for instruction. Some of the proposed work follows:

Johnstown High School: “A big portion of this building at this time is planning to be renovated,” Manning said. He said that includes the classroom wing, with lighting and floors; and the science wing. The main office, which he said is “woefully too small,” would see an addition. Facelifts would also be done in the music area and cafeteria, the latter receiving new kitchen equipment.

The district has alternative plans to either convert the pool into a new gym or keep and upgrade the pool.

Outside, the district may look at a shared new parking configuration between JHS and Warren Street Elementary School.

Knox Junior High School: “All the bathrooms are planning to be renovated,” said Manning. The cafeteria would receive new flooring. An unused room may be turned into a “lounge” for students who could bring in their laptops. The locker room area in the basement would be renovated. Other renovations would include one involving a science wing. The gym floor would be refinished and bleachers repaired.

Outside, some sidewalks and curbing would be replaced and the tennis courts might be replaced. The concession stand at Knox Field would be rebuilt, and the sound system on the field improved.

Pleasant Avenue Elementary School: This school would have prekindergarten, kindergarten and first grade with grade-level grouping starting this fall, and would have a more “secure entrance” built. There would be some playground work, and a new parent “drop off loop” would be built at the school.

Glebe Street Elementary School: With grades two and three, the school would see work such as “ceilings and doors, things of that nature,” Manning said. He said the school office is small and would be renovated. Two of the rooms would be converted into art and music space. Manning said the school would have a “new kitchen layout.”

Outside, the school would have curbing and drainage work done.

Warren Street Elementary School: Grades four, five and six would get a “learning lab” and the library would be expanded,

“The library is just too small for this grade level,” Manning said.

He said bathrooms would be renovated and power throughout the building would be upgraded. He said the district’s Information Technology Department is in the building and needs heating and cooling and more storage space. Some carpeting would be taken out and vinyl tiles put in.

Jansen School: With the P-Tech program and local Board of Cooperative Educational Services classes there, the gym and cafeteria areas would be renovated. The main district offices would be transferred from the high school to Jansen School.

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