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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Watkins Glen wraps up $24M school project

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  • A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Thursday for the Watkins Glen Central School District’s $24.6 million capital project, and the public will get a chance to tour the expanded and renovated campus.
    The ceremony is set for 11 a.m. at Watkins Glen High School, 301 12th St. The community is welcome. Speakers will include state Sen. Tom O’Mara, Superintendent Tom Phillips and school board members. Afterward, the public is invited to tour the facilities.
    The finishing touches are being put on the capital project - designed by Hunt Engineers and built by Welliver Inc. - and teachers will move into their new classrooms this week.
    The project, which broke ground last June, will bring together all the students in the district at the 12th Street campus. The old middle school on Decatur Street, which used to house grades 5-8, is now closed. A developer will turn it into senior apartments.
    The fifth- and sixth-graders will join the elementary school, while a new middle school wing has been created for grades 7, 8, and 9.
    The upgrades to the main campus include an expanded library and cafeteria, and repairs to the auditorium, gym and pool. There are new classrooms, computer labs and a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) suite. Another highlight is a video production room and TV studio.
    A new wing was built for the administrative offices, and the old offices were turned into a consolidated student support services center.
    There were improvements to energy efficiency, technology, health and safety, and security throughout the campus, and there will be busing efficiencies gained by the consolidation, Phillips said.
    “The whole idea of this project was to upgrade our academic facilities and streamline our operations at the same time,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be very helpful from a financial standpoint, as well as providing a 21st century learning environment for the students.”
    The bulk of the $24.6 million project will be covered by state aid. The school district plans to finance the local share of $6.6 million over 16 years, offsetting it with the savings from the increased efficiencies so there won’t be any local taxpayer impact.

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